You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Canberra centre Joey Leilua will meet specialists on Thursday evening to ascertain the extent of damage to his neck which has put a cloud over his immediate playing future.

The in-form star is out of Sunday's clash with the Sydney Roosters and there are fears he could be sidelined for up to three months, which would put a severe dent in the Raiders' premiership plans after their excellent opening two months of the season.

The injury could also cost the 27-year-old the chance at his first NSW jersey with the hulking centre's form to start the season putting him in the conversation for the right centre spot.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the impact of Leilua's absence for any length of time will be "huge".

"We've got another appointment today with Joey to get another opinion on where he's at and I'm hoping he'll have some news tomorrow with where he's at with his short-term future of footy," Stuart said.

"There's talk it could be three months, it could be longer or good news could be around the corner and it could be less.

Roosters v Raiders - Magic Round

"Until I know exactly from our medical team it's hard to speculate.

"The one thing you don't want in your season is bad luck, it knocks a lot of footy teams around and we're on the right foot at the moment we just don't need bad luck."

After only having three hours' notice he was playing right centre last weekend against Penrith, Michael Oldfield will at least have a few days to prepare for the Magic Round showdown with the Roosters.

Stuart paid tribute to the Oldfield's professionalism as he prepares for one of the toughest jobs in the NRL, slowing down Latrell Mitchell.

"He's got a big job ahead of him but it's not just one man's effort it's a whole edge and a team contribution," he said.

"But it's a big job, he [Mitchell] is in fine form and he deserves to be and he's putting it out there."

Jordan Rapana will need to pass a fitness test on his injured ribs on Saturday before he is passed fit to play with the club confident the Kiwi winger will line up outside of Oldfield.

Stuart said Rapana's ability to recover never ceases to amaze the club's medical staff.

"It's as though we're giving you false information about when he comes back," he said.

"We're just giving you the information that medically is what should be occurring.

"I'm just so happy we didn't use his money at the start of the season in regard to the compensation we had, he could have played round one, we were just taking a couple of weeks as precaution."

Roosters v Raiders - Round 9

John Bateman's fractured eye-socket means the Raiders do not have a utility forward in the starting side, with Stuart opting to have Bailey Simonsson on the bench for potential injuries rather than shifting Elliott Whitehead to the centres.

Hudson Young has earned the major promotion of starting in Bateman's place with the 20-year-old catching the coach's eye for several months.

"He deserves it, he's had a really good off-season and he's been consistent with his work.

"The senior players enjoy training with him and also experiencing what he had to offer.

"When you gain the trust of your senior players it's a big credit to you as a young individual who hasn't played a lot of senior footy.

"Injuries have knocked us around a bit so you're going to get these guys who get an opportunity a little bit earlier than you expect.

"Against a really good football team this weekend they are going to be tested so it's going to give me a bit of a look at how they handle the big stage."

Canberra also addressed the continued speculation about the club having signed Wigan playmaker George Williams to a three-year deal starting in 2020, saying there is no new information regarding the potential signing of the classy halfback.

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners