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Jack Wighton celebrates a try against Penrith.

If a week is a long time in politics, then 12 weeks is a lifetime in a rugby league season.

Back in round eight, the Canberra Raiders handed Penrith one of their most damaging losses of the season in Wagga.

The 18-point margin wasn't the only reason for Panthers coach Ivan Cleary to be kicking stones, with injuries to Viliame Kikau, Isaah Yeo and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak adding further insult.

Fast forward to round 19 and the Panthers are riding a seven-game winning streak and sitting inside the eight with finals very much on their agenda.

"They're in some awesome form at the moment and even though they had a lot of losses to start the year they've got such a strong squad," Canberra centre Michael Oldfield said.

"I knew from the outside looking in that it was always bound to click.

"Even speaking to some of their players they didn't know what it was (why they were losing) and what they needed but once they got it going they'd get some wins and it's showing now."

Oldfield again was called on to do a job at the last minute against Wests Tigers, with the veteran solid as he filled in for the suspended Nick Cotric.

Despite playing his role in Canberra's gritty 20-12 win with 102 metres from nine runs and 17 tackles without a miss, Oldfield he admits he needs to be more efficient with the ball against Penrith.

Get Caught Up: Round 18

"I felt I was OK but I still have some things I need to work on. I got excited with the ball a couple of times," he said.  

"A couple of times I thought it was later in the tackle count than what it was, so I played a bit more flamboyantly than I should have."

The Raiders' much-publicised injury toll has failed to slow their momentum, thanks in so small part to their new and previously unheralded players all performing.

Every try from Round 18

None more so than Bailey Simonsson, who has transformed himself from Seven rugby player to dependable and dangerous NRL winger.

The 21-year-old said momentum was all important at this time of the season with a handful more wins all but locking up a top-four place for the Raiders.

"The Panthers have been in red-hot form so it's going to be a tough game for us, but we're confident we can go up there and get the job done," Simonsson said.

"Obviously they've got some confidence in their side which is what comes when you're winning games.

"They've got quality halves and they're a quality team so we're going to have to make sure our defence is good again to shut them down."

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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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