Leilua set to play through pain-barrier
Canberra Raiders centre Joey Leilua has admitted he was touch and go to take his place in the side against the New Zealand Warriors last weekend due to an ankle injury.
Leilua looked at long odds to play after being carried from the field in the side's round two loss to the Newcastle Knights.
But the 26-year-old said he was willing to go through the pain barrier in a bid to try and bolster the side's edge defence.
"It was pretty close to not playing (against the Warriors), but I thought of the team first and I thought we needed somebody to defend on the edge, and I thought I did a good job," Leilua said.
"I wasn't nervous (about the injury); if you're out there to play, you've got to play the way you should be playing.
"It's just a bit of a niggle now, if you get it in the wrong spot it'll hurt a bit, but I'll be fine."
For the third week in-a-row, the Raiders have been forced to try and solve the riddle of how another late-game lead evaporated in front of their eyes.
Shaun Johnson last Saturday metaphorically kicked Canberra when they were down with two field goals inside the last two minutes handing the Raiders their third loss.
Despite the tough start to the season, Leilua said the team is refusing to bow to the pressure.
"There's been a lot of energy, I wouldn't say it's all good energy, but the boys are still upbeat," he said.
"It's a disappointing loss and there's a lot of plays where we can think of what we could have done better."
The draw has not done any favours for Raiders fan's blood pressure this weekend, with the side facing the Manly Sea Eagles on the road.
The teams will renew their strong rivalry, which saw the Sea Eagles clinch both wins last year via golden point.
"They had a big loss so for us I think they'll be ready to play some good footy against us because we've got a bit of a rivalry with them," Leilua said.
"They're a tough side and they strike weapons everywhere, especially with that big Turbo (Tom Trbojevic) so we've got to be on our game for the full 80 minutes."
This weekend's clash marks a homecoming for Raiders forward Liam Knight, who returns to take on the side he made his name with in the under 20s.
Knight came on with the game in the balance in the last 20 minutes and admitted the occasion nearly got the best of him.
"It was awesome to start with but it would have been a lot nicer to get the win, but the day was awesome, and I was very proud," Knight said.
"I wished I could have played a bit longer but after about three minutes, I lost my lungs and I was trying to hang on.
"My fitness is good, but I just think there were a lot of emotions and I had an adrenaline dump when I eventually got out there."