Rugby League

Edrick Lee has Raiders 'full support' as he readies for rep debut

Edrick Lee and Jack Wighton will play for the Indigenous All Stars this Saturday.
Edrick Lee and Jack Wighton will play for the Indigenous All Stars this Saturday.  Photo: Graham Tidy

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has spoken with Edrick Lee about his 12-month ban from Queensland selection and says the winger has his "full support" as he prepares for his senior representative debut.

Lee will start for the Indigenous All Stars in Saturday's clash with the NRL All Stars in Brisbane, just days after he was one of eight players ruled ineligible for the Maroons this year after breaking curfew at an Emerging Origin camp.

The 22-year-old was named 18th man for Queensland before the record-breaking thrashing of NSW in last year's Origin decider.

"I've had a good chat to Eddy, he told me the situation and one thing he has is all my support, he'll be fine," Stuart said.

Lee was a late inclusion into the Indigenous All Stars after Souths winger Alex Johnston was ruled out, and fellow Raider Jack Wighton will play off the bench.

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker was named in the NRL All Stars for the second straight year, and flew to Brisbane from the Auckland Nines on Monday.

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"It'll be good for the three of them, to go into camp with a few high profile players," Stuart said.

"Preparing with them will be very good for my boys, because they're all very young and have got representative football in front of them.

"I just hope they get out of it injury-free."

The Raiders escaped from the Auckland Nines without any serious injuries, although Shannon Boyd (calf) and Lachlan Croker (knee) both sat out Sunday's games with niggles.

"We took some precautions with them but and it will keep them out of a bit of training, but not games hopefully," Stuart said.

Stuart confirmed five-eighth Blake Austin is a definite non-starter for the February 20 trial against Newcastle at Orange as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but it is not expected to sideline him for round one.

A decision is yet to be made on the availability of Gold Coast Titans recruit Aidan Sezer (shoulder) or lock Shaun Fensom (arm) for Canberra's last hit-out before the season proper.

Stuart travelled with Canberra's Nines team and was impressed by the performance of his young players, some of whom are pressing for NRL selection.

The Raiders fielded only a handful of first grade regulars, giving the likes of Brenko Lee, Luke Bateman, Kurt Baptiste and Rhys Kennedy a chance to press their claims.

"All the boys that went away didn't do any harm to themselves the way they played, there was a lot of positives to come out of it," Stuart said.

"The main one was there was no major injuries."