You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

A spirited revival in the second half of the season saw the Raiders climb back into the finals in 2022 but fast-forward to their next campaign and Ricky Stuart's men will be optimistic for the future.

The Green Machine are one of the few clubs who have their roster settled with several household names likely to miss Round 1 given the depth that Stuart has at his disposal. 

On paper the Raiders have a team capable of doing plenty of damage next season but like all teams, will want a bit of luck on the injury front to help them get back to the top.

Predicted Round 1 team

  1. Jordan Rapana
  2. Nick Cotric
  3. Matt Timoko
  4. Seb Kris
  5. Harley Smith-Shields
  6. Jack Wighton
  7. Jamal Fogarty
  8. Josh Papalii
  9. Danny Levi
  10. Emre Guler
  11. Hudson Young
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Joseph Tapine
  14. Tom Starling
  15. Trey Mooney
  16. Corey Harawira-Naera
  17. Corey Horsburgh

Other: Xavier Savage (injured), Jarrod Croker, Ata Mariota, Brad Schneider, Pasami Saulo, Clay Webb, Albert Hopoate, James Schiller, Matt Frawley, Peter Hola, Semi Valemei, Adrian Trevilyan, Zac Woolford.

The best NRL tries from the Raiders in 2022

Squad watch

  • Squad spots filled: 30/30

The Raiders are one of only three teams to have filled their top 30 squad before a ball has been kicked with Danny Levi's signature taking them to full capacity.

Levi joins the club following the departure of Josh Hodgson, who's spot was filled by local junior Zac Woolford during 2022 after the English international finished his final year in green with a knee injury.

Woolford showed he's more than capable of filling the No.9 jersey in the future but it will be interesting to see how Levi and Tom Starling fit into Ricky Stuart's planning at dummy half.

Former Knights forward Pasami Saulo also arrives to the club with plenty of promise after a strong junior representative resume.

Saulo was restricted to game time at the Knights but with Adam Elliott going in the opposite direction expect the 24-year-old to get some more opportunity in the nation's capital.

Overall, the Raiders have one of the better-balanced squads in the competition. 

Health watch

Fullback Xavier Savage is expected to be sidelined until Round 7 after suffering a broken jaw in a Pre-season match against the Bulldogs. 

With the 20-year-old having to undergo surgery, Jordan Rapana is the likely replacement to fill the position with Harley Smith-Shields or Albert Hopoate possible wing options. 

Adrian Trevilyan (shoulder/knee) won't be available until mid-year.

Most contentious position 

A one-club legend or a now World Cup representative with the Kiwis?

Jarrod Croker struggled to make the NRL team in the early rounds of the 2022 season before his year ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury.

All rugby league fans will want to see the co-captain get back on the field and reach 300 games for the club but the emergence of Seb Kris in the centres now has Croker fighting for more than just getting back on the field.

Seb Kris will return to the Raiders in 2023 as a Kiwis Test player.
Seb Kris will return to the Raiders in 2023 as a Kiwis Test player. ©Getty Images

Biggest strength

Canberra's forward pack is still one of the best in the competition, from the starting engine room to the bench.

The form of Joseph Tapine and Hudson Young in 2022 took the team to a whole new level and enabled Josh Papalii to play his own game in the middle without being one of the sole enforcers on the field.

Adam Elliott's departure opens the door for someone like Corey Harawira-Naera or Corey Horsburgh to play a dominant role in the middle.

The side's halves in Jack Wighton and Jamal Fogarty also showed plenty of promise in the second half of the year when Fogarty got back on the field following a knee injury. 

The combination of Jack Wighton and Jamal Fogarty will be key in 2023.
The combination of Jack Wighton and Jamal Fogarty will be key in 2023. ©David Hossack/NRL Photos

Biggest question mark 

The Raiders have been handed the 'easiest' NRL draw in 2023 according to data based off 2022 results, but that could also in return be a danger for the side, who won't want to fall victim to complacency.

There is plenty of upside for the Raiders next season with a strong and stable roster but capitalising on that will be the key. 

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.