Young Raiders set to step into the breach

Raiders prop Josh Papalii has backed the club's youth rotational policy to bear fruit this weekend, as Canberra prepares to name a replacement for another serious injury to a star back-rower.

John Bateman has joined Joe Tapine (ankle) in the casualty ward will be missing in action until round 15, after the English star underwent surgery for a fractured eye socket suffered last weekend against Penrith in Wagga Wagga. 

Bateman has been arguably the buy of the season across the NRL, influencing the culture of the Raiders on and off the field.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart had instituted a rotational policy for the club's young forwards to show their wares over the first two months of the season.

However, with injuries to key players starting to bite hard, the 'generation next' of the Raiders is set to play a key role in a crucial part of the season.

"It's a massive blow, he's been a big reason why we've been so successful at the start of year," Papalii said of Bateman's injury.

"We've got some good youngsters coming through and that are playing good footy for the Mounties like we saw with Hudson [Young] on the weekend who went into that position and did a really good job.

"Ricky is unpredictable [with team selections] he'll just pick whoever he thinks will be the best person for the job and who can help the team."

Young has earned praise from his more experienced teammates in his limited opportunities so far this season.

The 20-year-old stepped into the breach when Bateman left the field in the side's win over Penrith last round and feels he can repeat that effort again against the Sydney Roosters if called upon this weekend.

"It was good to get some minutes this week, obviously it's not ideal to lose Johnny he's such a key asset to our team, but I felt like I was growing in confidence as the game went on," Young said.

"I went back and played 80 minutes [for Mounties] and I really think that helped me get through 55 on the weekend."

Michael Oldfield was another fringe player for the Raiders who shone under trying circumstances against the Panthers, having only three hours' notice he was starting when Joey Leilua (neck) was ruled out.

If Leilua is ruled out, Oldfield could have another tough ask this weekend as he faces off against a player he says is a "freak" and the "best centre in the game " in Latrell Mitchell.

"He's another big body and he's an unreal talent but it's not just one-on-one it's team versus team," Oldfield said of Mitchell.

"A lot of to work from inside me helps us guys on the edge, so if they're on top of their game we can hopefully nullify their attack so if I'm playing again I'm hoping the guys around me will help."

Another Canberra player who's immediate playing future is up in the air is Bailey Simonsson. The 21-year-old was solid on the right wing against Penrith but is self-aware enough to know his time in first grade depends on the injury timetable of Jordan Rapana (ribs).

"I sort of know where I stand with Raps so it doesn't make it too hard," Simonsson said.

"I just know when I come in I've got a job to do and whatever the level I'm playing at I just try and do the same thing."