Returning Canberra Raider Joe Tapine has vowed to throw himself into his second finals campaign despite revealing he feared his season was over after he fractured three ribs last month.
Tapine has been named in Canberra's starting side for the first week of the finals for what will be his first game since being sin-binned during a tense trip to Melbourne four weeks ago.
The back-rower has been unavailable for selection since then, with the Raiders keeping him in cotton wool for the finals campaign.
He hopes to get redemption against the Storm and is confident his body is ready for the challenge after playing through pain when Canberra toppled Melbourne in round 22.
Tapine thought he had suffered rib cartilage damage in the game against the Sydney Roosters and opted to play against Melbourne, but scans after the match discovered fractures.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back into the finals," Tapine said.
"I was a bit scared I was going to miss the rest of the season, so I'm just glad that I can be back this week.
"I got three little fractures in my ribs. There's nothing you can do for it with surgery, it was just about having rest.
"It's still going to be a bit sore, but I can tolerate it at this time of year. If you're not paying with something at this time of year, you're probably haven't gone hard enough. I'm just happy to be back.
"I've been itching to get back out there. I'll get through a few little wrestle sessions, but I'm ready to go."
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has added fresh faces for the start of the play-offs after resting key players last week.
Tapine slots straight back into the lock position, while Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jordan Rapana, Sia Soliola and John Bateman will start after missing the last game of the regular season.
Joey Leilua is also back after serving a two-weeks suspension and the finals clash will be just his third game in five months after overcoming a career-threatening neck injury.
Bailey Simonsson shifts to the bench and Nick Cotric back to the left wing to make room for Leilua, while Ryan Sutton drops to the bench for Tapine's return.
"We've had a lot of players in this year and having some guys back this week, I think we can lift," Tapine said.
Sutton and Elliott Whitehead are expected to sign contract extensions as early as Wednesday after their manager met with the Raiders last week to lock in their futures.
It's another boost for the Raiders before making their return to the finals for the first time in three years.
Tapine moved to Canberra in 2016 and tasted finals in his first full NRL season, but the Green Machine hasn't been able to clinch a top-eight spot since then.
"The last couple of years have been pretty tough," Tapine said.
"It's finals footy now, we have to go to another level in Melbourne and step it up.
"I still remember losing the preliminary final to Melbourne in my first proper year in the NRL. So that is a driver ... but rugby league is a hard thing. You've got to leave everything out there.
"You never know when you're going to be in the finals again, so you've got to make the most of every chance you get."
NRL QUALIFYING FINAL
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm at Melbourne, 5.40pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (C), 10. Sia Soliola, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joe Tapine. Interchange from: 14. Bailey Simonsson, 15. Dunamis Lui, 16. Corey Horsburgh, 17. Ryan Sutton, 18. Sam Williams, 19. Emre Guler, 20. Siliva Havili, 21. Hudson Young.