Coach Ricky Stuart says Canberra expect to face embattled flyer James Roberts when they take on Brisbane at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
Roberts has been named on an extended bench by Broncos coach Anthony Seibold but is gunning to make his first NRL appearance since round three following an Achilles injury and then avoiding sanction after photos circulated of him drunk while in recovery.
The 4-1 Raiders have enjoyed their best start to a season in 14 years while the Broncos have the opposite record but Stuart says with or without Roberts the visitors will be dangerous.
"I'm expecting him to play but they've got a good right centre fill-in there for him if he's not and whoever plays they're going to be up for a game of footy," Stuart said.
"Over all the years I've been involved in this game, the one team that when they're in a rut they bounce back and bounce back really strongly are the Broncos.
"There has been years and years (of proof) that when they've copped a bit of criticism they've bounced back real well and we don't want to be that bunny."
Canberra has slimmed down up front this season following the departures of Junior Paulo (Parramatta) and Shannon Boyd (Gold Coast), leaving Josh Papalii to lead the charge.
Stuart's mobile forwards have proved more than effective through the opening five rounds and he is backing Queensland lock Papalii to lead them past Brisbane's heavier pack.
"We've lost kilos but we haven't lost power. A lot of other people probably think kilos is power but I don't believe it that way," Stuart said.
"(Papalii) has been really consistent and he's probably taken off from where he left last season, being our Mal Meninga medallist.
"He's really growing and maturing into being the boss of the forwards and it's been good for the players around him because all the boys love playing with Papa.
"He's a different leader, you don't have to be giving Churchillian speeches, you don't have to be the loudest voice to be a leader. Sometimes leaders are all talk and no action, Papa is all action."
Australian Associated Press