Stuart warns Canberra’s collapse will be “dealt with”

Scott Bailey |

Ricky Stuart was left fuming after his Raiders team threw away an 18-point lead against Sharks.
Ricky Stuart was left fuming after his Raiders team threw away an 18-point lead against Sharks.

A furious Ricky Stuart has warned Canberra’s capitulation to Cronulla will be “dealt with”, after they gave up an 18-point lead to be beaten 36-22.

Leading 18-0 after 25 minutes, Canberra became the faders of old as they compounded error after error and were beaten through the middle.

The Raiders did not complete a set in the final 15 minutes of the first half as the Sharks drew back to 18-18, before back-to-back errors helped Cronulla kick clear after the break.

“We won’t be forgetting that night real quickly. I can promise you that. It was really poor and it’ll be dealt with,” Stuart said.

“We were embarrassing, and it was it was awful. 

Ricky Stuart
Ricky Stuart pushed back on suggestions anyone, including Matthew Timoko, was “solid” for Raiders. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

“We’ve worked too hard in the off-season, we’ve changed a lot of those real bad habits that crept in there tonight. 

“That’s what I’ve got to deal with now and get it back out. Because we started the season really well, and that was dismal.”

When asked how he would deal with the loss and whether the axe could be swung, Stuart suggested it was a legitimate option.

“There might be changes. It was a performance that every individual out there was below par,” Stuart said.

The emotional coach also took another shot at his players when asked by a journalist about Matt Timoko, with the reporter labelling the centre’s performance as solid.

“Nobody was solid tonight,” Stuart responded. 

“There wasn’t a player on our team that was solid. Don’t be giving praise to people who don’t deserve it.”

Kayal Iro
Kayal Iro celebrates a Sharks try in their stunning comeback win against the fast-fading Raiders. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

Cronulla’s win came despite missing five first-choice forwards to injury or suspension, making their comeback even more seismic.

Remarkably, their inexperienced bench was still able to roll through Canberra, with the Sharks dominating the middle of the field for the final 55 minutes.

Canberra’s loss in momentum came with starting props Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine off the field, prompting questions over whether the pair should be split with one starting off the bench.

“I’ve done it before,” Stuart said. 

“Usually when our bench go on, we’ve been keeping the momentum over the the start of the season. 

“When Joe and Papa went off tonight. I’ve got trust in those players to go on. 

“But (against Cronulla) we lost everything. We lost all momentum. The whole game changed.”