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Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Coach Ricky Stuart admits the Raiders were flat heading into their last-start loss to Manly but expects them to atone against a desperate Panthers outfit in Wagga on Saturday.

The Raiders suffered only their second loss of the season last week, squandering a 14-0 lead in a 24-20 loss at Lottoland.

Stuart said he hoped line-speed and execution in the ruck would return against the Panthers, who are one of seven teams with a 2-5 record.

"The boys were all really disappointed with our performance last week, which is a good sign," Stuart said.

"The Brisbane game took a lot out of us going into the Manly game. I had to modify a lot of our work last week in terms of the (training) loads because of that Brisbane game.

"It knocked us around, it was a big, powerful game of football and the collision and contact involved. So, I'm hoping there's a bit more energy in the side this week."

Raiders v Panthers - Round 8

Despite Ivan Cleary's team sitting in 14th as they make the trip to the Riverina of New South Wales, Penrith are starting to show signs of the team many tipped to finish in top four.

Their four-point loss to South Sydney showed Stuart there is still enough bite in the Panthers to take them seriously.

"I know Penrith are desperate and they'll play that way," he said.

"They're a very tough opponent and they were unlucky last week so we're going to have to be on our game if we're going to beat them.

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"They're a wonderful football team. It's just a poor start to the season they hopefully don't start to turn around against us."

To do that, the Panthers will have to improve their leaky defence. They have missed more tackles than any team in the NRL with 281 over the first seven rounds.

The worst culprits have been James Maloney (40) and James Fisher-Harris (37).

In a bid to maintain the Raiders' penetration through the middle third of the field either side of half-time Stuart has recalled Hudson Young and Corey Horsburgh.

"That was the plan, when we rotated players around that they go back and get a little bit of time with Mounties, so they can get a bit of football under their belts," he said.

"But they both now know they're playing to keep their position in the squad."

Also added to the squad is former sevens rugby union star Bailey Simonsson, who scored in his impressive NRL debut.

The 21-year-old has continued his excellent form at fullback for Mounties, recording a try, try-assist, a line-break and line-break assist while running for 206 metres last weekend.

The only other word uttered more at Raiders headquarters this season apart from defence is depth, with Simonsson being called in for the injured Jordan Rapana (ribs).

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"It's great to have that depth there," Stuart said of Simonsson's recall.

"I've also got Michael Oldfield in that position so it's important to have that depth there when you lose a player of Jordan's ability to be able to fill it with a young guy who's playing his second NRL game. It's exciting for Bailey."

Stuart said the club hoped to make the trip to Wagga a regular part of their season-schedule moving forward, much the same way the Panthers have with taking home games to Bathurst in the Central West of New South Wales.

"I hope this becomes an ongoing event, it's really important for our regional areas and I think it's important for rugby league," he said.

"From a Canberra Raiders point of view, it's a big part of our agenda. I had a board meeting this morning (Thursday) where we spoke about this as an ongoing commitment to Wagga."

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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