Raiders hoping to freeze Tigers at Shillington's 200th game
CANBERRA will put its topsy-turvy season on the line yet again when it takes on the Wests Tigers at home tonight, with long-serving prop Dave Shillington hoping to celebrate his 200th NRL game with a victory.
But the Raiders, who can still mathematically make the finals, have lost creative English hooker Josh Hodgson and Sia Soliola to injury, while lanky winger Edrick Lee is suspended.
Fortunately, Sisa Waqa returns from a knee injury in time to take Lee's place on the wing, while the experienced Glen Buttriss comes in at hooker and Jarrad Kennedy takes over Soliola's second-row position.
It will also be a big occasion for 21-year-old Canberra back-rower Mitchell Barnett, who will make his NRL debut off the bench. Barnett was the Raiders under-20 player of the year last season.
The Raiders have a big advantage playing at home on a freezing Canberra night, which many visiting teams have failed to come to grips with the chilly venue over the years.
The Tigers, though, are not one of them, having won three of their last four games at the ground.
However, they will have fresh memories of having surrendered a huge lead to Canberra in round seven when they gave up a 22-0 lead after 30 minutes to lose 30-22 in front of a stunned Leichhardt Oval crowd.
Shillington (right) played his first 73 games for the Roosters.
Veteran Tigers winger Pat Richards is in line to become the first rugby league player in the world to kick 1000 goals in his career.