Josh Hodgson of the Raiders.
Josh Hodgson of the Raiders. JULIAN SMITH

Raiders buoyed by return of key personnel to face Sharks

CANBERRA hooker Josh Hodgson says revenge is not on his mind but that it would be nice for Raiders fans if the team got one over reigning premier Cronulla on Saturday night.

The Raiders went down to a 16-14 qualifying final loss to the Sharks last season at Canberra Stadium and Hodgson said that while he did not want to look back, a positive result for the home fans would be good.

"You know I don't look at it as if I want to get revenge for last year, that has been and gone, but you know those games always stick with you throughout your career," the Englishman said.

"I suppose it would be nice for the fans to get a bit of revenge."

The Sharks have won their last three games in Canberra and the home side has had a tough start to the season with injuries and suspensions.

But fullback Jack Wighton and giant prop Junior Paulo return and Hodgson said he was happy to see them back.

"Junior's obviously great going forward and getting us on the front foot," he said.

"He is a big boy to stop and Jack is a great addition to have back in the team, he has a great influence on all the boys and we are really excited for him to be back."

The Raiders have also been boosted by the news that New Zealand winger Jordan Rapana has re-signed for two more years, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2019 season.

The Sharks have suffered yet another blow to their fullback stocks with Gerard Beale ruled out of the game.

Jack Bird will wear the No.1 against the Raiders after Beale suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday.

Coach Shane Flanagan has refused to rush back Valentine Holmes with Kurt Capewell expected to come into the side.