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Raiders back-rower Joseph Tapine.

Jarrod Croker wonders if Joe Tapine's hands are made of playdough but it's no laughing matter for the Raiders back-rower, who makes yet another comeback from a hand injury in Sunday's home clash with Parramatta.

Tapine's latest injury, which he copped in round two against Melbourne, was linked to the broken thumb he suffered against the Sydney Roosters in round 24 last season.

"They think it must have pushed something out of place, so it didn't really heal properly," Tapine said.

"It's in the same area, so they just found a part they didn’t catch then. But there wasn't any kind of surgery they could do at the moment that would help heal it back to normal.

"It’s just a case of cortisone (injections) to mask the pain to play through it."

Tapine allayed any fears his aggressive style could be hampered by the injury after completing full training sessions leading up the blockbuster clash at GIO Stadium.

Raiders v Eels - Round 5

"I'll have a little bit a brace and padding to strap it up as well," Tapine said.

"It took about a week for it (swelling) to come down but I have been doing wrestle and contact all this week so it's fine."

The 24-year-old has been named on the bench by coach Ricky Stuart and is not sure of his exact role in round five.

John Bateman has shown his versatility by seamlessly moving to the right edge in the last fortnight in Tapine's absence.

Regardless of where he plays, the fact the Raiders have to figure out where to put another international player in their pack is a headache the club is happy to have.

"Joe can play a bit of middle as well and he's a big, strong kid and he's tough to handle and asks a lot of questions when he's got the ball in hand," said hooker Josh Hodgson.

"In defence you don't want to run straight into him either, so he's a great addition... we've missed him over the last couple of weeks.

"But John (Bateman) has done a really good job filling in for him on that right edge.

"He might do a bit of both, he (Tapine) might go to the edge and John go to the middle, I 'm not sure at this stage.

"But it's a good headache to have when you've got two international back-rowers who can play a bit of middle and on the edge."

Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson.
Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Tapine's return comes at a perfect time as Canberra look to extend their best defensive start to a season since 2000 against a pack that has been one of the most dominant in the first month.

"The old roomy Junior (Paulo) will be tough to handle but we'll have to get to him and rest of the guys and make them work," Tapine said.

"They've picked up a couple of good new players in Junior and (Blake) Ferguson and the winger (Maika) Sivo so they're getting big carries.

"They've got a big tough pack and they seem to be going through the middle well and laying the platform for guys like Gutho and Mitch Moses to play off."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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