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CHN pumped for Schneider's well-earned debut

Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera was playing alongside this week's debutant Brad Schneider at the start of the year and says the newest Raider's NRL debut is one to get excited about.

With Jack Wighton joining Josh Hodgson and Josh Papalii on the suspended list to go with an injury list that includes Jordan Rapana, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jarrod Croker and Joe Tapine, the club's depth will be tested this week with coach Ricky Stuart choosing to blood the 20-year-old playmaker.

Schneider has had the chance to play alongside this week's five-eighth Sam Williams in Cup at times this year, with Harawira-Naera getting time alongside Schneider during his early-season suspension from first grade.

"When I was playing my reserve grade games this year, when Sammy wasn't playing because he was 18th man for grade, Brad was my half and I can't give him a high enough rap," Harawira-Naera told

"He kicks goals as well. He puts his body on the line, he's a really good defender.

Stuart announces Schneider will debut in team meeting

"He's probably a bit on the quiet side usually but I don't think that will be the case this weekend, I reckon he'll be real keen to jump in whenever Sticky gives him the nod and I think he'll do a real good job for us."

Harawira-Naera wasn't sure what the plan would be to get Schneider on the field but backed him to cover whatever spot he was thrown into, including if hooker Tom Starling has to come off at any stage.

Raiders v Storm - Round 11

"I think he's there to cover anyone but if Starlo does need a spell I dare say Stick would chuck him in before he chucks in anyone else to fill the void," Harawira-Naera added.

"His energy, it's a pretty special thing when you're playing with someone who's making their debut and I know the boys will be up for it.

"He's earned it and I know the boys will want to do the job for him."

Having seasoned playmaker Williams there in Wighton's absence is also a luxury, Harawira-Naera said.

"I remember playing with him last year in the [round 20] game against Cronulla when they debuted all these young boys, he steered us around the field," he said.

"He's just got a good head on him. If he wanted to be a coach he'd kill it. He's real smart. [At training this week] he was barking orders. It makes everyone's job easier when you've got a clear caller and he's definitely going to help out Georgie [Williams] this weekend. We're pretty good for depth down here."

Williams breaks away and Harawira-Naera scores first

Harawira-Naera feels like his own personal form is returning to something like his best after a slow start due being stood down for the opening rounds for a drink driving offence, with four straight 80-minute games since his round seven recall.

"It's more just finding my legs, it takes a while," he said.

"I played a handful of games in reserve grade at the beginning of the year but it doesn't compare to even 40 minutes of NRL. It's just finding my legs, finding my energy.

"I didn't feel my best on the weekend [against Canterbury] but I felt my legs were a bit more conditioned to playing a bit more grade and I was more able to contribute on both sides of the ball."

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Raiders

There is an element of making up for lost time and repaying his teammates for Harawira-Naera after he sat out the early part of the season.

"Once I got all my punishments I didn't want to sweet talk my way out of anything, I just wanted to put my head down and show through reserve grade I was ready to come up whenever Stick wanted to give me the nod and just show him I was sorry for what happened," he said.

"I still am obviously but the next few weeks is a good chance for me to step up, especially with a couple of boys out this weekend and show I can contribute in a big way towards winning games."

That will be particularly important this weekend against a powerful Storm side with plenty of Raiders stars missing.

"They're down a few men, we're down a few men, it will come down to a bit of character," Harawira-Naera said.

"Obviously they've still got rep players and so do we but for experience in big games we're probably a bit younger – especially with Jackie, Hodgo and Paps out.

"It just gives guys like Tom Starling and Georgie and Sammy a chance to control the game for us and put us in a position to win it."


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.