The Canberra Raiders are without five-eighth Jack Wighton as they take on the struggling Newcastle Knights.
Wighton was ruled out of Sunday’s game — and next week’s State of Origin clash — after he tested positive to Covid-19.
In a halves shake-up, Wighton’s absence sees Matt Frawley come into the side to partner Jamal Fogarty.
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It is hardly what Fogarty needed as he starts to build confidence at his new club after an injury-interrupted start to the year.
“We’ve had so much change there and now with Jamal back, all he needs to do is get consistency,” Ricky Stuart told reporters earlier in the week.
“For a guy like Jamal who’s two games back, (he needs) to try and string four, five or six games together and then naturally his game will just progress.”
Jordan Rapana returns from suspension in the only change for the Raiders who went down in a tight tussle with the Broncos last week.
As for the Knights, fullback Kalyn Ponga (head knock) will play after being cleared to return despite failing to finish last week’s game against the Panthers.
Newcastle actually sit just one spot below Canberra in 12th but looks a long way off contending for the top eight if its last-start 42-6 loss to Penrith is anything to go by.
The Knights have won their past three, and five of their past seven against the Raiders.
“They’re a bit of a bogey side for us over the last three games,” Stuart said.
Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 23. Matt Frawley 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papalii 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 17. Corey Horsburgh 19. James Schiller. Replacement player: 16. Corey Harawira-Naera
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 21. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 15. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Kurt Mann 10. Jacob Saifiti 14. Simi Sasagi 16. Mathew Croker 17. Pasami Saulo. Replacement player: 18. Phoenix Crossland
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