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Lui happy Austin's motor running again

The unique bond that forges friendships in the heat of battle as part of a rugby league team means players often stay in touch for decades after they no longer wear the same jersey.

Just don't ask Raiders prop Dunamis Lui to get up early to watch former Raiders playmaker Blake Austin play in the English Super League.

Lui admits he might have watched Austin's debut for Warrington on delay, but the form of his former teammate has been hard to ignore ever since.

So much so it's even caught the eye of England coach Wayne Bennett, with Austin named in a 27-man elite performance squad and now a real chance for playing for England and Great Britain at the end of the year.

"The way he's turned up this year and he's killing it over there and to hear he's made the squad I'm just really happy for him," Lui said.

"His first game I recorded it - there was no way I going to get up that early to watch it.

Match Highlights: Dragons v Raiders

"But he killed it that game ... hopefully he can win the Man of Steel award, but I'm just happy to see him doing well."

A potential showdown with Raiders star Josh Papalii will also be extra close to home for Austin.

"Paps and Austo are really close, their partners are actually related so I think it'll be weird for both of them if they play each other," Lui said.

"At training all of the boys were talking about it so I'll be giving him a message for sure."

Try of the week: Round 17

Apart from the send-off and subsequent three-week suspension of Raiders centre Nick Cotric after he took the early guilty plea, the biggest talking point from the Raiders 22-point win over St George-Illawarra was how they held onto a lead when challenged.

Twice in as many games Canberra enjoyed a 16-0 lead, however after some honest truths since their clash, the Raiders were able to close out the game even being a man down.

"It was good to carry that into the second half, especially when Nick (Cotric) got sent off how all of the boys went to another level," Lui said.

"I spoke to him (Cotric) after the game and he was pretty rattled, he sent (Tim) Lafai a text after the game saying he hoped he was alright.

"I know Tim personally and I know he'd be right with it."

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad said he feels for Cotric given he had just returned from injury but backed him to fire in the back end of the season in the run to the finals.

"I didn't even know Nick was off for the whole game, I was asking the ref how much longer until he came back on," Nicoll-Klokstad said.

"He's a special kid in his own right and he does special things for us on the weekend, I mean he scores on his first touch I think on the weekend.

"We'll miss him, but we'll go back to the drawing board and plan for this weekend."

RTS breaks NRL record

The Raiders fullback continued his stellar form this season with a double against the Dragons.

However, it was the re-emergence of the mental resilience which was a hallmark of the side's first six weeks of the season which most pleased the 23-year-old.

"I don’t think there was ever that problem for us. We knew we let those leads go in the previous games, but I was happy we were able to come together and talk about what we needed to fix and we were able to do that on the weekend," he said.

"It was our response, they scored back to back tries on the weekend we just knew we had to defend one set and get back into the game."

The Raiders can further solidify their place in the Telstra Premiership top four when they host the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Canberra has managed to win five of their past six games against the Tigers, but fresh of his milestone game, Benji Marshall might be a good luck charm of sorts, having won all 10 games he's played in Canberra.

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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