Canberra coach David Furner says prop Dane Tilse's return will provide more drive and experience for his side's vital NRL home match against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.
Furner says they missed Tilse's early aggression in their 20-10 win at Penrith last Sunday.
That victory was the second in a row and five from the past seven matches as the Raiders make a late burst for the finals.
They are 10th on 24 points, two points adrift of Brisbane and Wests Tigers who are in the seventh and eighth spot on the ladder.
Tilse missed the match for the birth of his first child, Rose, on Monday and Furner was excited about having the front-rower back.
"I thought we missed Tilsey a little bit at the start," Furner told reporters on Friday.
"It will be very handy for us," Furner said.
Canberra vice-captain Josh McCrone said Tilse had a spring in his step this week at training as he prepares to get back on the field against the struggling Roosters, who sit third-last on the table.
"It is a good feeling for all the boys, not just him," McCrone said.
McCrone said the Raiders knew they had to win their last three matches to qualify for the finals given their poor points differential of minus 43 compared to the Broncos, Tigers and Knights.
But for the Raiders to continue their winning run, Furner said his side's defence had to improve after missing 54 tackles against the Panthers.
"I thought they unsettled us a little bit with their offloads in the second phase," Furner said.
"We need to make sure we lock up the ball and that will be the focus for us from the start of the game."
Furner said the ladder did not reflect the talent at the Roosters, who have won just one of their last seven games and are coming off a demoralising 36-22 loss to the bottom-placed Eels last Saturday.
"They have had a lot of close games. Don't worry about the position. They are very good side," said Furner.
The Roosters beat the Raiders 14-8 in round three at Allianz Stadium.