Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has named his team for Saturday's season-opening clash against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.
At just 18 years of age, rising star Nick Cotric has been named to make his NRL debut on the wing. Cotric will partner Elliott Whitehead on the Raiders left-edge, with Whitehead filling in for the injured Jarrod Croker.
The destructive duo of Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua will partner on the Raiders right-edge, with Rapana taking to the field for his 50th appearance for the Raiders.
Clay Priest makes his return from a broken ankle to start in the front row alongside Shannon Boyd, while Sia Soliola moves into the second row in place of Whitehead. Luke Bateman will start at lock.
Dunamis Lui has been selected on the bench to make his club debut, after 80 NRL games in the past for the Broncos, Dragons and Sea Eagles.
Scott Sorensen, Zac Santo, Makahesi Makatoa and Lachlan Croker have been named as reserves for the match, as part of the NRL's new team list requirements, which are explained at the bottom of this page.
Josh Hodgson will captain the side in place of Croker.
NRL - CANBERRA RAIDERS V NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
SATURDAY MARCH 4, 7.00PM (AEDT), 1300 SMILES STADIUM
1. Jack Wighton
2. Nick Cotric
3. Elliott Whitehead
4. Joey Leilua
5. Jordan Rapana
6. Blake Austin
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Clay Priest
9. Josh Hodgson (C)
10. Shannon Boyd
11. Josh Papalii
12. Sia Soliola
13. Luke Bateman
14. Adam Clydsdale
15. Dunamis Lui
16. Jeff Lima
17. Joe Tapine
18. Scott Sorensen
19. Zac Santo
20. Makahesi Makatoa
21. Lachlan Croker
Team List Changes
The NRL has made changes to the way team lists are named in 2017. The changes can be summarised as follows:
Tuesday 4pm: Announce 17 active players and four reserves (21-man squad).
24 hours before kick-off: Cut squad to 17 active players and two reserves (19-man squad).
1 hour before kick-off: Final 17-man squad announced.
Notes regarding the new team selection rules:
- If you wish to bring in a player from outside the 21-man or 19-man squad you will need to apply for an exemption which will be evaluated by the Head of Football on a case-by-case basis.
- Players named as “Reserves” on Tuesday will still be able to be named in the starting sides of NYC and Mounties.
- Any players included in the 19 man squad will be deemed ineligible for selection in the final 17 man squad if they play in a NSW/QLD Cup match prior to the NRL match.