Nick Cotric's chance for centre of attention Blues audition

Shifting Nick Cotric to right centre will give the boom Canberra Raiders youngster a chance to put himself back on the State of Origin radar just two weeks before NSW names its team to defend the title.

The Raiders' injury woes have opened the door from Cotric to shift from left wing to the opposite side of the field as the Green Machine reshape their right edge for a showdown with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Nick Cotric will have a new job when the Raiders play the Rabbitohs on Saturday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Nick Cotric will have a new job when the Raiders play the Rabbitohs on Saturday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Cotric was on the NSW fringes last year and although he has played most of his NRL career on the wing, he has the ability to play in the centres or at fullback.

The clash against the second-placed Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday will give Cotric and the Raiders' other Origin hopefuls Jack Wighton and Jarrod Croker an opportunity to impress Blues coach Brad Fittler.

The Blues' right centre from last year, James Roberts, has fallen out of favour at the Brisbane Broncos, which has given others a chance to stake their claim.

"They've thrown about 50 names out there for [the NSW centre spots], so why not throw his in there as well," Raiders co-captain Croker grinned.

"I know Nick's excited about the chance this week. We'll have to do a lot of work on that defence to get him comfortable ... it's just about rhythm and cohesion more than anything. But he'll be fine.

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"We've got quite simple standards and they've been getting the job done for us. We don't need to change that or do anything drastic, just get back to what's working for us."

The Raiders will play the Rabbitohs and North Queensland Cowboys in the final audition before the NSW and Queensland Origin teams are named for the series opener on June 5.

Josh Papalii will almost certainly be included in Queensland's squad after a strong start to the year, while Croker, Wighton and Cotric are jostling for a chance to make their respective NSW debuts.

The Blues could still pick James Roberts even though he has fallen out of favour in Brisbane. Picture: AAP

The Blues could still pick James Roberts even though he has fallen out of favour in Brisbane. Picture: AAP

Injuries and form issues have created uncertainty for NSW, with Roberts on the outer with new Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold while Tom Trbojevic has been hampered by a hamstring problem.

Injuries to Jack Bird (knee) and Joey Leilua (neck) have added further complications, creating a scattergun scenario for the next in line to partner Latrell Mitchell.

"[Cotric] will do great. It's not somewhere he hasn't played before, wherever you put Nick, he does a good job for us," said Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson.

NRL ROUND 10

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.