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Sia's heart and soul of Green Machine, says Stuart

Ricky Stuart believes Canberra will have extra ammunition to earn victory against the red-hot Panthers, with the club's spiritual leader Sia Soliola celebrating his 100th game in the green jersey.

Soliola has long been known for his statesman-like attitude and charitable outlook on life as much as his uncompromising, surging runs since he arrived in the nation's capital in 2015.

However, the relationship between Stuart and Soliola has gone beyond their shared desire to success, with the pair helping shape the recent Raiders culture which has helped them become a threat for the premiership this season.

Stuart, who will present Soliola his commemorative jersey on Sunday at Panthers Stadium, said he would address the team about what Soliola means to the club and to him personally after first crossing paths in the early 2000s when he coached the Roosters and the young Kiwi was trying to break into the big time.

"That's something in house in regard to our relationship, I've known him since he was 17 and our relationship is a lot more than player, coach," Stuart said.

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"The things he does around the headquarters, around the team and outside his contributions on the field is enormous.

"Hopefully Sia is going to be a big part of the club for a long time to come."

Penrith have their own motivation heading into the game, with the suspension of Viliame Kikau for two games and James Maloney announcing he's signed a three-year deal with the Catalan Dragons in the English Super League.

"I don't know if that's going to create too much more excitement, they're in good form at the moment so I think that's enough enthusiasm and energy to keep them on the front foot," Stuart said downplaying the Panthers' off-field news.

Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton enjoyed lighter duties this week as Stuart continues to manage their minutes off the back of the State of Origin period.

Papalii comes back into the starting side at expense of Dunamis Lui, who has been in excellent form recently.

"They've had a good break and it's important at this stage after their representative commitments, they bounce back into club footy really well, they're big team players," Stuart said of Wighton and Papalii.

"I want him [Papalii] to keep consistent, his role's been enormous, and his contribution has been over the season. Just the way he's handled the Origin period and his club footy, I have said it before, it just shows his growth and maturity."

Stuart also confirmed fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad would be right to play on Sunday despite being left worse for wear after their 20-12 victory over the Wests Tigers last Saturday.

"That's the way he plays, he plays a physical style of game," Stuart said of the breakout star.

"He's a tough kid and he's handling it very well and he's got a lot of emotion and passion about his game, he's a joy to watch."

Stuart said there was no new information regarding the contract negations of international winger Jordan Rapana.

The Kiwi star is one of the cornerstones of the Raiders and has become a part of the senior leadership group, as such, both Rapana's management and the Raiders are working towards securing his future.

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"I want to keep him here, Stuart said.

"He knows the situation, his manager knows the situation and we're all very comfortable.

"I'm like every fan that I want to keep Jordan here, it's something we are on top of but the way Jordan is handling it is great, he's a professional and he's just worrying about playing."

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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