Origin prop Dunamis Lui has been dropped for a second time in three weeks by Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, to accommodate the return of Joseph Tapine from an ankle injury.
Lui is part of Stuart's extended bench for Friday's crunch clash with the ladder-leading Penrith Panthers, but is set to line up for the club's NSW Cup side as he looks to build a fitness base which can handle this year's NRL rule changes.
Tapine missed last weekend's win over Gold Coast after going down in the Warriors game a week prior, but has been named to retake his place at lock.
Ryan Sutton started in the number 13 jersey last week, but will start at prop on Friday after continuing his hyper-productive start to the season.
For Lui, who made his Queensland debut last year and subsequently endured a shorter preseason, adjusting to the NRL rule tweaks is taking longer than expected.
"It's a different game right now, I need to figure that out, I need to figure out how to play my stint," Lui said.
"It's just the non-stop footy. The ball's in play a lot more this year, you really feel that when you're out there.
"You don't get that break walking to the scrums, you've got to jog back, get in line to D up again. it's not really quicker, it's just that non-stop, you're always moving.
"I've been speaking to our GPS guys and our head trainers and they're trying to really work it out and figure out what's happening there.
"Good thing right now it's only round five so we've got a bit of time, I just need to figure it out quick."
Lui's demotion to reserve grade is the only change to Stuart's side that ran out convincing 20-4 winners against the Titans.
Curtis Scott will be given at least another week to recover from a painful rib injury, meaning Sebastian Kris will retain his spot at right centre.
Star recruit Ryan James will wear the number 17 again, although whether he starts in place of Josh Papalii, like he did against his old club on the weekend, remains to be seen.
Thirty-one-year-old Lui is expected to travel with the top-grade squad to Penrith on Thursday, and link up with his NSW Cup teammates for Friday's curtain raiser to the Panthers-Raiders clash.
"There's going to be times when you're not going to be playing NRL and we all understand that," Lui said.
"You want to be playing NRL every week. We're in a pretty different position this year with the amount of boys that we have.
"I know for sure that a lot of boys here would rather be playing NRL at other clubs consistently but to be able to be in this position right now, being in a top four, top eight team, looking to play for that premiership at the end of the year, I know where the boys would rather be.
"That's one really good thing about us right now.
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"The main goal at the end is to wear that Raiders jersey but the ultimate goal at the end is to win the premiership. We're all in this and we're all buying into it."
Penrith has conceded just three tries in the opening four rounds of the season, two of which were scored by the defending premiers Melbourne in round three.
They held North Queensland and then Canterbury scoreless in the opening two rounds, and thumped Manly 46-6 at Brookvale Oval last week.
Stuart implored his side to bounce back defensively after giving up a strong lead against the Warriors in round three, and the Raiders responded by keeping Gold Coast to a solitary Corey Thompson try.
"That's one area that we're pretty proud of at the moment," Lui said.
"Stick said it after the game, if there was an area that we should be really executing he'd rather it be defence.
"We still know we have a lot of work to do, especially in attack, but yeah we're pretty happy with where we are at the moment.
"Hopefully we can back it up again on the weekend."
Lui rejoins a NSW Cup side which bounced back to winning ways with a 60-20 thumping of the Newtown Jets on Saturday in Belconnen.
He played a staggering 75 minutes in round three during the Raiders' shock NSW Cup loss to Mounties.
Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers Friday, April 9, 7.55pm, Penrith Stadium
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson (C) 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joe Tapine 14. Tom Starling 15. Siliva Havili 16. Sia Soliola 17. Ryan James 18. Sam Williams 19. Semi Valemei 20. Dunamis Lui 21. Corey Harawira-Naera