Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has publicly apologised to the club’s fans in the wake of his side’s 54-12 embarrassment at the hands of the Warriors
on Saturday night.
After slumping to a second consecutive defeat that saw 54 points conceded, following on from the 54-18 loss to the Sea Eagles in Round 8, Stuart wasn’t holding back in the post-game press conference, labelling the performance as “unacceptable”.
“We apologise - that’s what the message [to fans] is, it’s an apology,” he declared.
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“We have to get out of this rot very quickly, it’s unacceptable.
“It is hard to take, it just goes to show you that the last one wasn’t a one-off.
“The last two weeks I haven’t got answers for at the moment, I haven’t got much idea in regards to why this is happening.”
After leaking nine line breaks and as many tries against the Sea Eagles, the Green Machine were once again woeful on the defensive side of the ball, missing 22 tackles and allowing the Warriors to run for 1528 metres.
That included four tries which started in their own attacking half, as Konrad Hurrell and Shaun Johnson ran riot. The Raiders’ edge defence wore the brunt of Stuart’s post-match tirade.
“Our edge defence is absolutely diabolical, it has been for the last two weeks,” the former NSW Origin mentor said.
“That quality of skill was better in the first six weeks, I don’t know why it has all gone out the window. It doesn’t matter if I am embarrassed or not, it’s a matter of fixing it.
“We are working very hard, but we find ourselves in a hole at the moment.
“If it was the first two games of the year I would be even more concerned, but after the first six or seven weeks I know there is a lot more commitment and ability in that footy team.”
Captain Terry Campese, who set up the Raiders’ first try, was equally dejected.
“I am speechless to be honest, I feel for everyone, there is no-one in there (the dressing room) talking at the moment," he said.
“No loss is easy to take, we have to get back on the paddock this week, train hard and turn it around.”
While Stuart made several changes to his squad following the embarrassment at Brookvale Oval two weeks ago, he refused to be drawn on whether he would drop players ahead of next Sunday’s match against the Panthers at GIO Stadium.
“I don’t want to be answering that in the media. We will talk about it when we go back to the hotel,” he said.
The Raiders weren’t getting any sympathy from Warriors coach Andrew McFadden either, despite the fact that he spent five years at the club as a player between 1997 and 2001.
“No, not really, it’s a tough sport and it could happen to us next week,” McFadden said.
“They will bounce back, they are in a bit of a spot at the moment but you can guarantee in this competition that they will turn it around.”
The NRL match concluded a miserable day for the Raiders at Eden Park, with the Holden Cup side going down 54-0 to the Junior Warriors in the curtain raiser.