Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton.

It will be a battle of the next generation of No.6s in Canberra on Friday night when Jack Wighton and Kalyn Ponga square off.

Both the Raiders and the Knights have taken an off-season gamble by moving one of their premier attacking players into the front-line.

The winner of the Wighton-Ponga battle on Friday night will go some of the way towards deciding the outcome of the contest between sides that are 1-1 after two weeks of the 2019 Telstra Premiership.

Fresh off his remarkable return from injury, Jordan Rapana said there is plenty of work being done this week studying Ponga.

"Newcastle they're on fire at the moment, they're coming off a two-point loss that could have gone either way," Rapana said.

"Kalyn Ponga moving to five-eighth, he'll be on our edge and he's a quality player so we're doing a lot of homework on him.

"I'll be up against big Edrick Lee as well, so I'll have a job to do and I'm looking forward to it."

The Raiders are expected to be without backrower Joe Tapine, with the New Zealand international meeting with a specialist on Tuesday regarding a thumb injury.

Tapine played just 19 minutes in the Raiders' 12-point loss to the Melbourne Storm last weekend, with his absence making a noticeable impact on the side's attack.

Scans show there isn't a clear fracture and are awaiting specialist's feedback before making any determination about how many weeks Tapine could miss.

English recruit Ryan Sutton could be set for a call up to the starting 13 if Tapine misses the visit from the Knights.

"At the minute I am still new to the NRL, so I understand it's going to take me a few weeks of get used to the pace of the game," Sutton said.

"But I am ready when he [coach Ricky Stuart] wants to put me on, I keep looking at the clock wondering when I am going on, so happy to go whenever."

The Raiders task this weekend does not get any easier in the middle of the field, with David Klemmer, James Gavet and Tim Glasby likely to be fired up after their coach Nathan Brown questioned their effort last weekend.

"Our first 20 minutes have got to be our best, if we can start and finish well we should be able to win," Sutton said of the challenge on Friday night.

"We've just got to fight fire with fire in the middle."

Rapana echoed Sutton's sentiments, saying Canberra must be stronger defensively in the middle third of the field, as they showed in round one against Gold Coast.

"I felt a bit gutted [after the loss], but Melbourne are a quality team for a reason and we were a bit sloppy around the ruck and let them get too many metres," he said.

"But it's something we have addressed and worked on today at training."