Josh Papalii has been rushed back into the fold after just a week's rest, with coach Ricky Stuart calling on his biggest trump card in a bid to halt an alarming four-match losing skid against Newcastle in Wagga Wagga on Saturday.
The imposing front row enforcer missed last week's home loss to South Sydney after deciding with Stuart that he needed a 'mental break', but he's been named to start against the Knights with both clubs desperate to escape their dreadful form slumps.
Papalii's return provides a huge boost to Stuart's forward pack which has struggled in recent weeks.
In another boost for the Raiders, halfback George Williams has shaken the hamstring injury he suffered warming up against the Rabbitohs, while Sebastian Kris is also set to line up after being cleared of serious ankle damage.
Homesick Williams' late withdrawal last Thursday was a massive blow for the Raiders, and forced Stuart into a late positional switch. Jack Wighton moved to halfback, and Elliott Whitehead shifted to five eighth.
Kris suffered a suspected high ankle sprain in the loss to Souths, but the Raiders said he had proven his fitness at training early this week and would make the trip to Wagga in place of co-captain Jarrod Croker, who is still up to three weeks away with the shoulder injury he sustained against the North Queensland Cowboys.
Co-captain Josh Hodgson remains unavailable after missing two matches with a calf injury, meaning Tom Starling retains his place at hooker.
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Ryan James has dropped onto the extended bench in place of Papalii, while Sia Soliola is out of the 21-man squad altogether.
Soliola was a late inclusion against the Rabbitohs after Williams pulled out, and also played NSW Cup on Saturday. He's expected to play NSW Cup again this weekend.
Emre Guler and Corey Harawira-Naera have retained their starting spots in the Raiders' forward pack, while Corey Horsburgh's comeback from a serious foot injury will continue with his third-straight match in succession.
Canberra and Newcastle won their first two matches of the season, but both clubs have lost five of their last six.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien has also been forced to reshuffle his side with Phoenix Crossland set to play his first game at halfback after Blake Green injured his ribs in last weekend's heavy loss to the Sydney Roosters.
Winger Hymel Hunt has overcome a hamstring injury, while Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Tex Hoy have been named on an extended bench.
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights
Saturday May 8, 3.00pm, Wagga Wagga
1. Caleb Aekins 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Curtis Scott 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Tom Starling 10. Emre Guler 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Elliott Whitehead (C) 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Siliva Havili 15. Hudson Young 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Joe Tapine 18. Sam Williams 19. Ryan James 20. Matt Timoko 21. Dunamis Lui