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Stuart goes with gut to select Sezer over Sam

After playing Sam Williams and Aidan Sezer in the halves last week in the win over the Bulldogs, coach Ricky Stuart went solo with Sezer this week after having "a gut feeling" he would need the 27-year-old's skills against the Wests Tigers.

Jack Wighton's return from NSW Origin duties meant Williams or Sezer would miss out. Williams has played 10 games and scored two tries – Sezer had played just three in 2019 up until the Wests Tigers clash at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.

And not only did Sezer help set up tries, he scored an intercept 80-metre effort himself.

Now Stuart will have a dilemma each week on who fills that No.7 jersey.

"It was just a gut feeling of mine that I went with Aidan this week. He played well last week but so did Sam," Stuart said after his side smashed the Tigers 28-0 with five unanswered tries.

"With Jack coming back, I just thought that last week they (Bulldogs) went down our right edge a lot and Sam had to make 30-odd tackles … and Sammy hasn't got a big body and it was a shorter turnaround.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Raiders

"So I just thought this was the week I needed Aidan with his good leg speed and bigger frame.

"I must admit the way Sam handled it was all class. He's a class bloke; he's a Raider; he epitomises that team-first mentality that we talk about.

"He actually said to me 'I've been dropped before for missing tackles but I've never been dropped for making them'.

Raiders dazzle with kicking skills

"He handled it quite well. And he'll be back in there at some stage. I'm quite fortunate I'm able to pick and choose [halves]. Aidan aimed up and played well tonight. He took the line on scored a try but more importantly he was very strong defensively."

The Englishmen in Stuart's side are showing their skills with their feet, as well as hands.

Against the Wests Tigers, Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman both put toe to the ball in the final stages of Bailey Simonsson and Bateman himself scoring tries. Nick Cotric also volleyed a ball in soccer-style for Jordan Rapana to score.

"They stuff around at training doing all that kind of stuff," Stuart said. "I'd love to take the rap saying they're all my drills but they're not.

"The Pommy boys … they're always mucking around with soccer skills and drills at training with the footy. And so is Nick… so that was always going to be used at some stage in our game."

The win was pleasing in many aspects for Stuart, but one in particular.

"I'm a coach that believes and works hard in having the right mentality and attitude … game plans are important but not as much as attitude.

"You can't defend like that if you haven't got the right attitude and the will to play for each other."

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