‘Not a tough football team’ – Stuart blasts his Raiders

Scott Bailey |

Ricky Stuart has accused Canberra of lacking toughness, claiming his players are taking too many soft options as their NRL season slips away.

Their 48-24 loss to Wests Tigers on Sunday continued a worrying run for the Raiders, who now have the fourth-worst defensive record in the competition.

Sunday’s flogging at Campbelltown also marked another slow start, down 18-0 before halftime and 42-8 in the second half before three late tries while the Tigers had a man in the sin-bin.

The Raiders have now found themselves in similar positions in six of their last eight games, regularly having to play from behind after leaking early tries.

And Stuart said there was only one explanation for the trend.

“We’re not a tough football team at the moment,” Stuart said.

“It’s a mental (thing). That’s an individual choice (to not be tough). I have too many individual choices at the moment and they’re taking soft options.”

Stuart also claimed his team were unable to fight back into the game, as only “tough people and teams pull it back”.

He also savaged the side for only being able to score points against the Tigers while they had 12 men, making clear he did not believe the 48-24 scoreline summed up how poor his team were.

“Don’t see (those points) as any type of praise,” Stuart said.

“If we can’t score tries against 12 men, we’re in a bad position. Don’t get too excited about the fact we scored tries when the game was over.

“They took their foot off the intensity and had 12 men.”

Now sat 10th, the Raiders hope to have halfback Jamal Fogarty return in three weeks from a bicep rupture.

But they desperately need to turn things around quickly in order to allow the chief organiser to salvage the season.

“We’re not being tough,” captain Elliott Whitehead said.

“We’re not completing sets where we want to and turning the ball over.

“We speak about it all week and then we dish that rubbish up. We have to fix that up internally and do it fast if we want to keep our season alive.”