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Raiders prop Josh Papalii.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart's 30-plus years of playing and coaching experience in the NRL leaves him well qualified to know teams are often at their most dangerous when their backs are against the wall.

That is why the Raiders are preparing for a Broncos stampede this weekend when they host the under-fire Brisbane side which has started 2019 well below expectations with just one win from five games.

Stuart dismissed suggestions his side will start favourites at GIO Stadium on Sunday, saying their win streak was danger of being snapped if they strayed from what has got them to third on the ladder.

"Over all of the years I have been involved in this game, one team when they are in a rut that manage to bounce back strongly are the Broncos," Stuart said.

"There's been years and years for people to see when they have copped a bit of criticism they have bounced back really well and we don't want to be that bunny.

"We have got new faces, new combinations and it's early in the season so we've got to make sure we are playing well before we worry too much about the opposition.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"They will be very motivated to turn around their season."

Canberra were impressive in the middle third for most of their clash with Parramatta in round five, with early line-speed being maintained for all of the 80 minutes, as the Raiders defence gave them more chances to attack the Eels' line.

Leading that charge again has been Josh Papalii, with the representative forward hitting the ground running in 2019.

Papalii has run for more than 100 metres in every game this season. He has completed nearly 94 per cent of his tackles in the first five weeks and broke seven tackles in the shut-out of the Eels.

"He's been really consistent, and he's probably taken off from where he left off last season," Stuart said of Papalii.  

"He's really growing and maturing into being the boss of the forwards and it's been good for the players around him because they really love playing with Papa. They respect Josh and he leads by example.

"You don't have to be giving Churchillian speeches, you don't have to be the loudest to be a leader.

"Sometimes those types of leaders are all talk and no action, Papa is all action.

"We know what type of personality he is and character traits he has and that's why we see him as one of our favourite sons at the club."

Junior Collins will make his debut for the Raiders this weekend, having previously played 15 NRL games for Newcastle and the Wests Tigers.

Stuart hinted the club will use a "rotational policy" with the likes of Collins, Corey Horsburgh, Royce Hunt, Hudson Young, Jack Murchie and Emre Guler to be called up to the Telstra Premiership when needed over the coming two months.

Raiders v Broncos - Round 6

Those positions are made available, in part, but the absence of Joe Tapine who is out for up to three months with an ankle ligament injury.

"It's every NRL coach's nightmare that you can't keep your healthiest team on the field," Stuart said.

"He (Tapine) is obviously disappointed and he's a bit down which is understandable.

"He started the season off with the hand injury and now into the leg injury and I feel sorry for him because he's had a pretty disrupted start to the season.

"We're optimistic that we're going to get a very good footballer back healthy and fit around the middle of the season."

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.