It won't be Jarrod Croker's 300th game, but Josh Papali'i is still expecting fireworks. And he's expecting former teammate John Bateman to bring them. Bateman will line up against the Canberra Raiders for the first time since he walked out on the club at the end of the 2020 NRL season - one year before his three-contract was meant to end. He's since returned to the NRL - on a four-year deal with the Wests Tigers - and will line up against the Green Machine at Campbelltown on Friday night. Bateman helped the Raiders to the 2019 grand final and the preliminary final the following year, before his manager Isaac Moses started agitating for more money. The Raiders eventually ended negotiations and allowed him to return to Wigan in the English Super League where he's spent the past two years. He hasn't had quite the same impact for Wests, who have only won three games this season and sit third last on the ladder. It won't be the first time Papali'i's played Bateman since he left - the two went head to head in the World Cup semi-final last year, with the former's Samoa getting up 27-26 against England. "Obviously [expecting] fireworks around 'Batty' there," Papali'i said. "I played him in the World Cup in England and he's always going to be a bit fiery and such a skilful player. "Whoever's marking Johnny Bateman's going to have their work cut out for them that night, but I believe in the squad we have to get the job done and that's all we can do." Bateman's been playing on Wests' right edge, which would see him come up against Hudson Young - if the Raiders young gun backs up from State of Origin on Wednesday night. Otherwise it could potentially be Joe Tapine, who Papali'i said would be an option to switch from the middle back to the edge, where he played early on in his NRL career. Tapine's been named at lock, with Corey Horsburgh shifting to the right edge to cover Elliott Whitehead (pectoral). The New Zealand international will captain the Green Machine for the second time, having led them against Wests in round 25 last year as well - with the Raiders romping to a 56-10 victory. Canberra hooker Zac Woolford, playing his second game back after missing one due to the mandatory 11-day stand-down period, expected Tapine to lead with his actions. MORE RAIDERS NEWS That could spell bad news for the Tigers, with Tapine already eating metres like they're going out of style. He's averaging 167m per game and coming off a 227m-effort in the win over South Sydney last weekend - when both he and Papali'i (216m) ran rampant through the middle. "He definitely leads by example, big Joe. He's one from one as captain. He was the captain when we played the Tigers last year," Woolford said. "He's not a man of very many words, but he'll definitely be setting a good example." We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.