The Canberra Raiders have announced the return of three key players for Saturday?s match against the Brisbane Broncos at Canberra Stadium, while two new faces are closer to playing their first NRL matches with the club.
The Raiders will be boosted against the top-of-the-table Broncos on Saturday night by the return of skipper Simon Woolford, fullback Clinton Schifcofske and prop Troy Thompson to the starting team.
Woolford will return from a two week suspension for a careless high tackle, while Schifcofske and Thompson are back from rib and hamstring injuries respectively. In great form before his injury, Schifcofske has missed five games.
?I?ll have a good hit out and see how it pulls up towards the end of the week, but I?m pretty confident I should be all right,? Schifcofske said.
In addition, former Sharks forwards Andrew Lomu and Jason Williams are on the edge of making their debuts for the Raiders in the top grade. The two giant New Zealanders have been included in an extended 20-man squad.
Lomu only made his debut for the Raiders in Premier League on Sunday, having been released last week by the Sharks. The former Roosters premiership player and New Zealand Test representative had his first training session with the Raiders? NRL squad this morning.
?I want to get back in some good form, be consistent, get into the first grade squad and hopefully, down the line, I?d like to get back into the Test team if I can,? Lomu, 26, said.
?This is a new opportunity and I want to make consistency the number one key. I?ve enjoyed my short time so far in Canberra and I think it?ll be a great place to concentrate on footy.?
Williams, 24, was also a late addition to the Raiders this season, joining the club in April. He has played four Premier League matches for the club, two since returning from a hamstring injury.
Elliott said part of the reason he picked an extended squad was to promote competition for positions in the club. He tipped one of his two giant recruits, Lomu or Williams, would play this Saturday.
?I?m excited by the qualities they bring to the club. Jason didn?t get an NRL pre-season, but he?s been working extremely hard, he?s lost 10kg and he?s getting closer to first grade,? Elliott said.
?We probably got [Lomu] here for two reasons: one because of the form he?s been displaying in Premier League; and two, because of how good a player we know he can be. Sometimes a change of environment and some opportunity provided is all the spark a player needs.?
RAIDERS v BRONCOS Saturday, June 11, 5.30pm Canberra Stadium
1. CLINTON SCHIFCOFSKE 2. MARSHALL CHALK 3. PHIL GRAHAM 4. DAVID HOWELL 5. CRAIG FRAWLEY 6. TERRY CAMPESE 7. LINCOLN WITHERS 8. MICHAEL HODGSON 9. SIMON WOOLFORD 10. TROY THOMPSON 11. MATT ADAMSON 12. IAN HINDMARSH 13. JASON CROKER
14. ALAN TONGUE 15. KRIS KAHLER 16. JOSH MILLER 17. MATT GAFA 18. ANDREW LOMU 19. JASON WILLIAMS 20. BEN CROSS