Nick Cotric named at fullback for Raiders clash against Cowboys

Canberra Raiders young gun Nick Cotric will shift to fullback to cover Jack Wighton's absence for the crucial game against the North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.

With Wighton indefinitely suspended while the NRL mulls over how long he should miss for his assault case and Brad Abbey out due to concussion, Cotric will wear the No.1 jersey for the Green Machine for the second time.

He deputised for Wighton earlier in the season when he was out due to the birth of his second daughter.

Raiders young gun Nick Cotric will wear the No.1 jersey against the Cowboys.

Raiders young gun Nick Cotric will wear the No.1 jersey against the Cowboys.

Jordan Rapana returns from a hamstring injury, while Michael Oldfield will shift to the left wing to fill Cotric's usual role.

Warrington-bound Blake Austin remains on the bench in the utility role despite producing a match-winning effort off the bench against the Canterbury Bulldogs on the weekend.

Junior Paulo will start at prop with Shannon Boyd (calf) out for at least two weeks, while Josh Papalii retuns from State of Origin at lock and Luke Bateman (knee) was named on the bench.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart named Joe Tapine in the second row, but he faces the NRL judiciary and a two-game ban on Tuesday night.

If he's found guilty of dangerous contact on Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa then either Papalii or Sia Soliola would move to the edge in his place.

That would open up a spot in the 17 with Liam Knight most likely to come in, although Royce Hunt and Jack Murchie were also named in the 21.

John Asiata returns from a pectoral injury for the Cowboys for his first game since round seven, taking the place of Matt Scott (neck) at prop.

Queensland duo Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess were named in the second row.

NRL ROUND 18

Saturday: Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium, 7.35pm. Live on Fox League.

Raiders: 1. Nick Cotric, 2. Michael Oldfield, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Sam Williams, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Dunamis Lui, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Josh Papalii. Interchange from: 14. Blake Austin, 15. Luke Bateman, 16. Siliva Havili, 17. Sia Soliola, 18. Liam Knight, 19. Jack Murchie, 20. Royce Hunt, 21. Craig Garvey.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. John Asiata, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Scott Bolton, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange from: 14. Ben Hampton, 15. Shaun Fensom, 16. Shane Wright, 17. Corey Jensen, 18. Justin O'Neill, 19. Ethan Lowe, 20. Mitchell Dunn, 21. Francis Molo, 23. Jake Clifford.

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