Stuart reflects on disappointing season
They've missed the NRL Telstra Premiership finals, but Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is focusing on the positives.
Canberra was dispatched in an unflattering 32-6 loss to Melbourne on Saturday night, but that score-line was an exception after a run of close losses throughout 2017.
Stuart spoke of his happiness with Canberra's strong internal culture and how his side has come through adversity in a difficult year.
"It's not all negatives from where I sit," he said.
"And I certainly won't fabricate anything with the players. Its not about us now - we haven't self-destructed. We haven't ruined what we built so far. We were disappointed in tonight.
"[By] not destructing what we've been building over the last two years has been a credit to the players.
"We've been through a very tough season. We've had some very tough close losses, but our culture and mateship amongst the players – from the staff right through to the players – is very strong."
"I've seen a lot of football teams self-destruct through the adversity of close losses, through the adversity of tough seasons," he said.
"It's really good to be in a position to say that we haven't [destructed], but we need to take the next step if we are to compete against the top team like the Melbourne Storm."
The Raiders finish the 2017 Telstra Premiership season in 10th place with 11 wins, 13 losses and two draws.