Raiders assume Papalii, Tapine cleared

Canberra believe no news is good news and that Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine will be cleared to travel to face North Queensland despite not getting a flu shot.

JOSH PAPALII of the Raiders.
JOSH PAPALII of the Raiders. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Canberra skipper Jarrod Croker assumes teammates Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine are all clear to play in Saturday's NRL match against North Queensland despite the pair not having taken a flu shot.

Croker said he hadn't heard by Wednesday that his two key middle forwards weren't allowed to enter Queensland.

Papalii and Tapine were among several players who declined a flu injection when the competition restarted and the Queensland government revealed its no jab, no play policy.

Croker said he had yet to learn the outcome of a Raiders application to the NRL, seeking an exemption for Papalii and Tapine to cross the border.

A delay has been caused by officials seeking additional documentation around in-form prop Papalii but AAP understands club management is confident of getting the green light.

"Unless we hear anything different, I assume they're right to go," Croker said.

"You'd like to think they'd tell you, at least when you name the team. So I'm assuming no news is good news."

Any late ruling to bar the pair would be a major blow for Canberra, who are without middle forwards Sia Soliola, Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler on a lengthy medical list.

Canberra had originally planned to leave the pair behind this week but the injury toll has forced their hand.

This week's ruling will set a precedent as they must also travel to the Gold Coast in three weeks to face the TItans.

In positive news, second rower John Bateman has been named to start in what will be his first appearance since the 2019 grand final, while centre Curtis Scott (hand infection) returns on the same right edge.

Croker admitted that side of the field had been a problem area which he hoped would be glued together by the uniting of Bateman with his former Wigan teammate, halfback George Williams.

"The right edge has been demolished over the whole season, they've had someone different in there most weeks," Croker said.

"It's been tough for them, there's no denying that. George is new to the system and Curtis is a new player here, Nick Cotric was on the left (wing) for four years so it was always going to be tough and John (Bateman) hasn't been there."

Corey Harawira-Naera is poised to make his Canberra debut off the interchange, having exited the Bulldogs after the NRL's appeals committee overturned his deregistration.

Croker backed the 25-year-old to perform in what would be his first game since coming off the Kiwis bench to face Great Britain last November.