Another week and another close loss to a competition heavyweight, but Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is looking to the future armed with the next generation of stars in lime green.
Speaking after his side went down 16-12 to competition leaders Souths Sydney on Saturday night, Stuart said despite another heartbreaking loss he could not be more impressed with the side's younger players.
"We've got a special squad here, the amount of injuries to world-class players and yet the younger players that are coming in... and what they're contributing to this team is making a very healthy club," Stuart said.
"It's a wonderful squad of players and the younger players are promoting that point because their performance was outstanding tonight."
Hudson Young continues to impress filling in for the injured John Bateman, setting the platform in the 22nd minute, when he stood toe-to-toe with Rabbitohs enforcer Sam Burgess.
"Another 30 games for Hudson Young he'll be a different player," Stuart said.
"Bailey Simonsson, Charnze (Nicoll-Klokstad) they're helping make this squad better. If they can perform like that for a high percentage of our games, they've got a healthy season on their hands."
Match Highlights: Raiders v Rabbitohs
Corey Horsburgh too continues to offer something off the bench in spite of his career being in its infancy. Stuart says their experience now will be paid back multiple times over in the future.
"They're good footy players, that's the difference with the club at the moment," he said.
'We've got four high quality players out, Aidan (Sezer) who is sitting in the wings and is a really good halfback, but Sam (Williams) is playing really good football.
"With these young boys coming in and getting a lot of really good experience playing football in first grade now, is giving us something that we haven’t had at this club since I've been here.
"A-grade quality depth throughout, I get really excited about those young guys."
The Raiders corrected their slow start the previous week against the Roosters, with good line-speed in defence and kick-chase, keeping the Rabbitohs coming off their own line for much of the first half.
Defensively too the Raiders were excellent again with the Rabbitohs making the most of the few chances presented to them.
Nick Cotric also impressed in his first game at right centre in the NRL as he adds another string to his bow that already includes wing and fullback.
"I'll be great to wind the clock forward six or eight weeks to see the experience he gets there," Stuart said of Cotric's move.
Williams try wrestles lead back for Raiders
"I love coaching Nick, the look on his face when I told him he was going to play right centre, he couldn't wait to get there.
"It's lovely to be able to fill BJ's (Leilua) position with Nicky Cotric, I thought he did a great job tonight."
The Raiders wore black arm bands in memory of club great Quentin Pongia, who passed on Saturday away after a battle with cancer.
"It's a very sad day for the club, he wouldn't have wanted us to be upset about his passing away. He would have wanted us to win tonight and we tried... that probably hurts more than anything," Stuart said.