Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has left the door open for a shock Sia Soliola return against St George Illawarra in Wollongong on Saturday, while enforcer Josh Papalii will be given all week to prove he's recovered from a shoulder injury.
Soliola hasn't played since suffering what looked to be a season-ending facial fracture in early July the last time Canberra played the Dragons, but is expected to engage in full-contact training during the team's main session on Wednesday.
His inclusion could hinge on the fitness of Papalii, who was cleared of serious shoulder damage after leaving the field early in Saturday's loss to the Sydney Roosters.
Should Papalii, who is close to re-signing with the club, fail to recover in time for this weekend, Soliola could potentially take his spot although Stuart is cautious about rushing the veteran front rower back into the fold.
Rookie winger Semi Valemei has been named in the starting side once more with Curtis Scott due to miss another week with the leg injury he suffered in the win over Canterbury two rounds ago.
That will mean another week at right centre alongside Nick Cotric for Jordan Rapana.
Youngster Tom Starling has been named at hooker, while in-form duo Ryan Sutton and Joe Tapine retain their spots in the forwards.
Raiders fans feared the worst when Papalii was put on ice in a disappointing second half against the Roosters, and rejoiced late on Monday when scans cleared him of a suspected AC joint injury.
"I was a bit worried because Paps isn't the type of guy that will sit out if he gets a little injury, it's good that he's been cleared," Tapine said.
"He got a couple of injections and it just wasn't settling down for him. He was just scared that he was going to let the boys down, that's part of the reason he didn't go back out.
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"Paps is a huge part of our team, especially our middle. He's kind of the leader of our middle pack.
"Off the field is a big thing for Paps as well. He's a great dude and he always supports everyone off the field so that gives everyone confidence on field."
Canberra's loss to the premiers last weekend left the club needing to win its last three matches to stake a realistic claim at a top-four finish.
The Roosters jumped two points clear with a commanding for-and-against advantage, but games against the struggling Dragons and New Zealand Warriors, and a final-round clash with out-of-form Cronulla still makes the equation possible.
Tapine was expecting an improved performance from the Dragons this weekend after the naming of new head coach Anthony Griffin on Monday. Griffin will take over from interim coach Dean Young next season.
"Players will be playing for spots and just trying to show their new coach what they have," Tapine said.
"They're a fast paced footy team, fast play the balls. We've just got to slow them down and play our game. It's a bit harder now [the top four] but it's still possible."
CANBERRA RAIDERS V ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 12, 3.00PM, WIN STADIUM
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Semi Valemei 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Tom Starling 10. Ryan Sutton 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joe Tapine 14. Siliva Havili 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Hudson Young 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Sam Williams 19. Matt Frawley 20. Matt Timoko 21. Sia Soliola