Bench props boost drives Raiders' charge

·2-min read

If Canberra are to upset Parramatta in Friday night's NRL semi-final, bench forwards Emre Guler and Corey Horsburgh will surely play a significant role.

Far from the accolades star front-row teammates Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine have been getting, the duo have flown under the radar while smashing out huge metres and providing an energy lift when their teammates need it.

Horsburgh has returned from a bout of pneumonia like he never left, running for 89.6m per game in limited minutes since getting back in the side in round 22, with the Raiders going 5-0 in that stretch.

But it's the recall of Guler that's been even more surprising, crunching out 86.1m per game in his last nine outings, after being dropped to NSW Cup back in round seven.

Perhaps it's no coincidence the Raiders have won eight of nine matches since his return.

"He (Guler) didn't go back kicking stones, he went back and played some good footy and now he's killing it," Horsburgh told AAP.

"Me and Emre get along really good, and it's so good to see him playing well.

"That's our role, we've got to come on and lift the energy, or at least match it because sometimes 'Taps' (Tapine) and 'Paps' (Papalii) are still going strong.

"That's how I roll and I feel like we've been pretty good the last few weeks. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going and then who knows what can happen."

Friday night's challenge is about as gargantuan as it gets, the Raiders pack tasked with handling a star-studded Eels crew including Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo, Isaiah Papali'i, Shaun Laune and Ryan Matterson.

Matching it with the Eels, at the very least, looms as key for Horsburgh.

"They obviously love the middle and want to go through the middle of you," he said.

"It's a pretty big challenge for us in the middle but that's footy, and I'm pretty sure Paps and Taps, me and Emre will love that challenge.

"It's gonna be a really good game, a real big challenge and a big physical game so we're gonna have to get the bodies ready."