Raiders v Manly: The Contenders

With Aidan Sezer and Sia Soliola racing the clock to be fit for the Canberra Raiders clash against the Manly Sea Eagles, we take a look at some of the players who could come into the side to cover the duo.

Firstly, we take a look at who could cover for Sezer if he is ruled out for the Sea Eagles match.

Blake Austin

Having started the first two games of the season, Blake Austin is the obvious choice to slot into the halves for Aidan Sezer.

Despite not starting against the Warriors, Austin still earned considerable minutes on the park and has impressed in attack so far this season.

A mainstay in the side since his arrival at the club in 2015, Austin provides experience and has good combinations with those around him.

Ata Hingano

The young half has already been named in Ricky Stuart’s extended squad this season and has NRL and international experience.

Having arrived at the club earlier this month, the former New Zealand Warrior has been playing regularly for Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership.

While Hingano is capable of moving into the halves, he could also join the bench if Austin is chosen to start.

Craig Garvey

With Sezer having played big minutes at hooker so far this season, Ricky Stuart could choose to replace him with a specialist hooker.

Known for his defence, Garvey has NRL experience over the last four seasons from his time with the Dragons and Bulldogs.

Currently plying his trade for Mounties, Garvey could easily come off the bench to split the hooking role with Siliva Havili.

With Sia Soliola battling an ankle injury we take a look at the potential replacements for the versatile forward.

Junior Paulo

At the start of this season, Ricky Stuart decided to split Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo and start the Samoan international on the bench. However, that thought may be revised in Soliola’s absence.

The reigning Meninga Medalist has averaged close to 85 running meters with the ball in hand so far this season and would certainly be fired up if called upon to start.

Joe Tapine

One of the Raiders best until succumbing to injury in the opening game against the Titans, there is a possibility that Tapine could return this weekend.

Although Tapine has played in the middle for the Raiders in the best, it is more likely that Tapine’s return would involve a reshuffle.

Having excelled on the right edge at the back end of last season, a return there would likely see Whitehead move to lock and as mentioned earlier, Paulo could slot into the front row.

Makahesi Makatoa

Makahesi Makatoa has impressed while plying his trade for the Mounties over the last year and would be a like for like replacement for Soliola.

If Makatoa was named, he would allow Ricky Stuart to have his two big forwards on the field at different times.

The 25 year old is capable of playing anywhere in front row or second row which could also help him press his claim for a bench spot.

Jack Murchie

The young second rower is yet to make his NRL debut but has been impressing with his recent performances for Mounties.

Having been named in the Intrust Super Premiership Team of the Week in Round 2 after a two-try performance, Murchie could thrive if called upon.