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Luckless Tapine expected to bounce back

Joseph Tapine's teammates are backing the star forward to bounce back after suffering yet another serious injury, this time being ruled out for up to 12 weeks with ankle ligament damage.

Tapine left the field in the 50th minute in the  win over Parramatta last weekend, in what was his return from a thumb injury suffered in round two.

The 24-year-old's burgeoning NRL career has been hampered by a series of hand injuries with the ankle injury now being added to his unfortunate resume.

"He really changed the game when he came on and was full steam ahead only to get an unlucky injury," Jarrod Croker said of Tapine's impact against the Eels.

"It's frustrating to see him out for a period of time but he's got a good support base around him with his partner and family and all of the guys here.

"But it's a tough one to swallow for him, first game back and so early in the year but he's got the back end of the year to look forward to."

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has made minimal changes for the clash with Brisbane on Sunday, with Junior Collins being called onto the bench and John Bateman to remain on the right edge.

Every try from Round 5

Collins would become Raider No.360 if he takes to GIO Stadium this Sunday, as Stuart continues his bid to blood as many young forwards as possible in the Telstra Premiership.

While still preferring to have an international player such as Tapine fit and healthy, Jordan Rapana said the club was spoilt for riches in terms of back-rower depth.

"He's going to be missed and it's a bummer, but we have depth here at the club," Rapana said.

"John Bateman has slid in there and there's so many more guys banging on door for the opportunity to play it's such a healthy place for us to be in despite Joe's injury.

"Hudson Young, Jack Murchie, Emre [Guler], Corey [Horsburgh], Royce [Hunt], you've got so many young players that are playing well for Mounties.

"It's upsetting Taps is out but it's take your pick with who can replace him."

Bateman has earned rave reviews for his early-season form for Canberra and will get a chance to further cement his combination with Rapana and Joey Leilua on the Canberra's right edge.

"I think he's a wonderful player and his style suits myself and BJ, he plays off the cuff and he's very elusive, so I am looking forward to playing more with him," Rapana said of Bateman.

Leilua said Bateman's attitude to the game has rubbed off on the rest of the squad.

"Batty is just a raw Pommy, I love playing with guys like that," he said.

"He goes out there and does his job and he doesn’t give in and he has that fighting spirit the whole team feeds off, so he's done well since he's come over."

Match Highlights: Raiders v Eels

The Broncos have resisted the urge to drop players despite their 1-4 start to the season.

Payne Hass has moved from lock to prop for Matt Lodge who suffered a throat injury last weekend.

David Fifita will start in the No.13 jersey and Gehamat Shibasaki has been named on the bench and James Roberts as a reserve.

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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