Canberra’s full complement of representative stars will turn out against St George Illawarra after turning down coach Ricky Stuart’s offer to sit out the NRL match.
Stuart had extended an invitation to his rep stars, including Kangaroos forward Josh Papalii, to skip Thursday night’s clash at Kogarah Oval – just four days after the City-Country fixture.
Stuart said it would be “courageous” for the players to stand down if they felt they couldn’t give their best to the side amid fears of burnout.
But Papalii said he was keen to return to the NRL after the rep weekend.
“I think the boys pulled up a little bit sore but I think everyone will be alright,” he said in Canberra on Wednesday.
“We’ve only had one session on Tuesday … but the boys are ready to go and there are definitely no excuses for tomorrow night.”
Captain Jarrod Croker praised Stuart’s stance.
“I think Ricky was genuine about that,” he said.
“If you’re not right to play, then you’re probably better off having someone there that’s fresh and ready to go.
“Good luck telling any of the boys that, they’re not going to not play. Especially the four Country boys, they want to turn around what we did on Sunday.
“It takes a bit of courage to say that. No-one wants to do it, everyone wants to say `nah, nah I’m right’. But if you’re not right, you’re not right.
“But I think everyone’s pretty sweet to go.”
The Dragons have won their last three matches against the Raiders.