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After the first five games of the season, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says he's convinced his team is building something special out in the nation's capital.

The Raiders went down 12-6 in a gripping affair out at Penrith but were once again forced to play most of the game down a man when second-rower Joel Edwards went off in the seventh minute for concussion and didn't return.

The loss means Canberra have won just two of their first five games of the season, but with four of those five on the road, Stuart left the foot of the mountains on Saturday night an extremely proud coach.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the adversity that's been thrown at these guys from game one, where we've had four away for our first five games," he said.

"Last week we played with 16 for 80 per cent of the game, and then 15 for 50 per cent of the game. And then tonight, with those conditions, we played with 16 men for most of the game, what, 73 minutes.

"I just gave them an enormous rap in the change room. They've got a very proud coach because we're really starting to build something here. And we can't play or perform like that versus Penrith at Penrith in those conditions if you haven't got something special in your inner sanctum and I think we're really building something special."

Edwards was stretchered off when his head made contact with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's shoulder. Play was stopped for 10 minutes as both camps feared the worst and while the he failed to return, Stuart said he was in good spirits at halftime.

"It's never the good to have someone in your team, especially one of your key defenders, in a position like that," captain Terry Campese said.

"You always feel for them. And it was good to come in at halftime, and he was actually throwing an apple around when I seen him. I wasn't too concerned."

Stuart should also regain the services of big men Jarrad Kennedy and Shannon Boyd who were both ruled out pre-game after succumbing to illness.

"Shannon has got a bad virus. He's been bedridden for three days and Jarrad Kennedy's [had] same thing happened to him. He woke up this morning and got worse as the day got on. He actually got to the game and pulled out 30 minutes before the game," Stuart said.

"Kyle O'Donnell got pulled out of second grade just to be 18th man, because out 18th man was told he was playing yesterday. So we used an 18 and 19, and that makes you even more prouder because I thought Kyle O'Donnell's game was really strong for his debut for the club."

Canberra finally turned home to host Newcastle next week in what Campese described as an opportunity to make up for their last-start loss to the Titans in Round 3.

"Hopefully we can make up for our last efforts at home. It's probably our worst performance of the year," he said.

"So we want to get back and make home proud again and I think we're getting a few troops back too so that'll be nice to get a few guys back.

"The pleasing aspect of our season so far is that we've been in every game until the end. But it'd be nice to be a few more games up. A big game this week against Newcastle."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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