Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer.

Raiders five-eighth Sezer happy to end time at hooker

Canberra Raiders playmaker Aidan Sezer has a new-found respect for the hookers in the NRL after  walking a mile in their shoes.

Sezer's role in the side has been put under the microscope during the first fortnight of the Telstra Premiership after playing both in the halves and at hooker via the interchange bench.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has named the 26-year-old as five-eighth for the side's clash with the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday, something he was happy to see.

''Being a professional footballer, you don't want to be coming off the bench,'' Sezer said.

''It's something I'm not used to. I've never come off the bench in my career and as I've said before I don't want to get used to it.''

Sezer has earned praise from his teammates for his willingness not only to play the utilityrole, but also to roll up his sleeves and go to work in the middle third of the field.

But the prospect of defending the large, mobile pack of the Warriors is something Sezer is happy to defer to the Raiders forwards this Saturday afternoon at GIO Stadium.

"I'm a half, I'm not a hooker,'' he said. "I'll do a job for the team but being in the halves is my preference.

"I've definitely gained a lot of respect for the guys in the middle, hookers play above their weight week-in and week-out.

"I am not going to come out and be a world-class hooker, but I'm happy to fill-in for the team.''

The Raiders will be under pressure improve their defence after leaking 60 points in two weeks.

Sezer said the side is determined to fix those issues before opposition coaches target their edges too often.

"The boys are probably talking. I'm not out there on the edge, but the reads and rash decisions affect the team and they're obviously affecting our results,'' Sezer said.

"But we're a team and we look across the board at where we can improve, and we'll go from there.

"As you saw on the weekend, a few errors of judgement in defence is letting us down. And on the goal-line if you make an error it's usually going to cost you points.''

Sezer said the Raiders will try and make a point of nullifying Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has returned to the form that once saw him labelled one of the best players in the NRL.

Meanwhile, Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii has been told by former Queensland stars to lift his patchy club form if he wants to be a regular in the Holden State of Origin arena.

''I would love to see Josh go to the next level because he has been highly regarded by Queensland and done a great job, but he has a huge challenge to be a leader down in Canberra,'' Maroons legend Petero Civoniceva told NRL.com.

"I want him to show why the Queensland selectors have faith in him to lead the Canberra team the way that he can.

"The pressure is on and it is going to be a challenge for the selectors as to who they pick in game one. It is all going to be about form and who is playing their best football in the first half of the season.''

With fellow 2017 Queensland bench forwards Tim Glasby and Coen Hess starting the season strongly, and Australian World Cup start Felise Kaufusi set to return from injury with the Melbourne Storm, Papalii can take nothing for granted.

''When I was playing with him he was taking on people like Paul Gallen and the inspiration that provides his teammates is incredible,'' former Raiders teammate and Maroons prop Dave Shillington said.

''He is an incredible talent and probably takes a few rounds to warm up because he enjoys his off-season and his weight creeps up on him, but when he's fit and in his prime there are not many better second-rowers getting around.''