You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Raiders players celebrate a win over the Cowboys in Townsville

They say the intangibles behind premiership-winning teams are often the secret weapons that are essential for any successful rugby league team.

Playing well at the right time of the season and being injury-free are a given. But the unquantifiable aspects of the team are often the difference between winning it all and wondering what might have been.

Ahead of their round 25 clash with the Warriors and subsequent trip to the NRL finals, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said the current Raiders team had shown him something he'd rarely seen in his coaching career.

"These guys are the closest bunch of players I've ever coached, the camaraderie and the genuine mateship, and commitment to each other," he said.

"Honestly, I don't say it to make people warm and fuzzy, I don’t operate that way. But these are the closest bunch of blokes I've ever coached."

Stuart said the side was not concerned about where they finished on the ladder and if it meant a trip to Sydney to face the Roosters, or to Melbourne to play the Storm, then so be it.

All he's concerned with is fixing the issues that plagued their slow start last weekend against Cronulla.

Stuart praises Raiders camaraderie

"The most important thing for me is to keep playing good footy," he said.

"There were parts of our game last week where it was going like that (too slow)...  but they pulled themselves out of it to their credit.

"On the back end of that game we had to dig deep, so it was good solid composure for Aidan [Sezer] to slot those field goals.

"It would be great to finish third, but we've got a job ahead of us, it's not going to be handed to us.

"We’ve got a team that's up for it and it gives me the opportunity to rest a couple of guys who've got some niggles, so it's fortunate in both ways."

Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, winger Jordan Rapana and back-rower John Bateman have been given an extra week to recouperate.

Stuart gave credit to the younger players in the side who have been given extra responsibilities this weekend against the Warriors.

Names such as Hudson Young, Bailey Simsonsson, Sebastian Kris, Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler have more than handily stepped in to fill gaps when needed as injuries have hit the Raiders.

"They're quite a humble bunch of boys and we've just got our heads down," he said.

Raiders v Warriors

"As much as they're working on the team, they're working on themselves to be as physically and mentally ready for each game as we can be.

"That's the reason why I have the opportunity for a few of the guys to get some more work rehabilitation-wise on some niggling issues."

Joe Tapine (ribs) won't be returning this weekend with Stuart saying his side named on Tuesday will be the one taking to the field at GIO Stadium on Saturday.  

"He's getting better, he's a lot better than where he was this time last week, so I'm hoping he'll be available for selection next week," Stuart said of Tapine.

"He's certainly doing a lot of fitness at the moment, both he and BJ (Leilua) are getting a lot of work under the belt."

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners