Smiling assassin Sebastian Kris ready for Rabbit hunt

Sebastian Kris is the latest in a long list of Canberra Raiders rookies this year and captain Josh Hodgson has backed the young gun with a "big, goofy smile" to shine in his NRL debut this week.

Kris will become the sixth Raider to play his first NRL game this year when the Green Machine aim high against the second-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday.

Sebastian Kris, centre, will play his first NRL game this weekend. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Sebastian Kris, centre, will play his first NRL game this weekend. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Injuries to Jordan Rapana (knee) and Joey Leilua (neck) have paved the way for Tuggeranong junior Kris to get his opportunity this week and he might become Canberra's smiling assassin if he gets on the field.

The 20-year-old, 99 kilogram outside back has been a member of the Raiders' junior program for the past two years and was in the NSW under-18s side in 2017.

"He'll do a really good job for us, he's a great young kid," Hodgson said. "It's really nice to see, to be honest. He's been with us for a few years now and has been coming along really well.

"He's just happy every day ... if he comes out today you'll see his big, goofy smile. He just loves every day and it's nice to see a kid like that getting a crack.

"I just saw him in the sheds and he was beaming from ear to ear, like he does every day, but even more today.

"He gives us that option [against the Rabbitohs] and as a player he'll just turn up for you. You could tell him to run into a brick wall and he'll go and run into the brick wall for you. When you've got a kid with that sort of mentality in your side, it's nice to have."


Kris will follow in the footsteps of John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Bailey Simonsson, Corey Horsburgh and Hudson Young in making their debut this year.

Bateman and Sutton had plenty of experience in the UK Super League before arriving in Canberra, but moving to the NRL for the first time was a step up.

The Raiders have also added new players Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and JJ Collins, while Jack Murchie had played just two games before this season.

Injuries have forced coach Ricky Stuart's selection decisions to a large degree, with Rapana, Leilua, Bateman and Joe Tapine all unavailable.

The Raiders have managed to cope with the ins and outs so far this season and have won six of their nine games, setting them up for a chance to equal their best start to a season since 2003 if they beat the Rabbitohs.

The Raiders are hoping for a massive crowd at their game this weekend. Picture: AAP

The Raiders are hoping for a massive crowd at their game this weekend. Picture: AAP

Raiders officials are hoping crowd support swells to more than 18,000 for the round-10 match, which could be the club's biggest regular-season crowd in a decade.

It would be a massive moment for Kris, who has been named on an extended bench for the clash.

"I know he's a kid, but I forget how young he is," Jarrod Croker said of Sebastian. "He's always smiling and it's something the club should be proud of because he's a local junior and he's come through the system.

"He's a powerful runner, strong and quite aggressive. He won't let anyone down at there, that's for sure."

Stuart has shuffled his side after Rapana was ruled out for up to a month with knee problem, shifting Nick Cotric to right centre and moving Simonsson to the left wing to partner Croker. Elliott Whitehead will also like stay on the right side, which has been decimated by a trio of injuries.

"It's another tough game for us this week ... we were a little bit off at the start last week [against the Roosters] and gave us too much to do," Hodgson said.

"We're going to have a look at a few things there and start better, we need to be better against [the Rabbitohs]. You can tell their spine is playing with confidence, really enjoying playing at the moment and playing off the back of their big men. It will be good for us guys in the middle, too."


Saturday: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium, 7.30pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Nick Cotric, 5. Michael Oldfield, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange from: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Sebastian Kris, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Corey Horsburgh, 18. Aidan Sezer, 19. Emre Guler, 20. Royce Hunt, 21. Jack Murchie.

Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan, 2. Mawene Hiroti, 3. Kyle Turner, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Campbell Graham, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess (c), 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange from: 14. Junior Tatola, 15. Mark Nicholls , 16. Ethan Lowe, 17. Liam Knight, 18. Jacob Gagan, 19. Bayley Sironen, 20. Dean Britt, 21. Tom Amone.