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Ref's scrimmage session with new rules runs Raiders ragged

A brutal scrimmage session overseen by NRL referee Phil Henderson has given the Raiders a glimpse into what can be expected under the further rule changes this season.

Leading Raiders players described the intensity as an eye-opener leading into their only trial against the Roosters on February 27 with the 10-metre infringement and marker play among their most immediate concerns.

The Raiders were ranked second last year in conceding the most ruck infringements (83) during the regular season at an average of 4.6 per game - an area the team is determined to fix.

"He [Henderson] really showed us the second you try to slow anything down he's going to blow six-again until you get the speed right," five-eighth Jack Wighton said.

"It will take the first four or five games where you're trying to get that match fitness [to get used to it]."

After bowing out last season midway through October and the State of Origin series wrapping up a month later, the Raiders have had to navigate a shortened pre-season.

Canberra forward Sia Soliola.
Canberra forward Sia Soliola. ©

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the additional changes would help the game "evolve", while veteran forward Sia Soliola said the bigger bodies in the pack would be tested.

"We got a small taste of it and it's definitely going to bring up a few challenges, especially through the middle," Soliola said.

"Re-adjusting with the six-again and 10-metre infringements and kicking out, those are probably our most immediate [concerns].

"A few scrums are scrapped ... I'm curious to see how that pans out in the trials.

V’landys confident NRL will return to normal

"We've had to alter a few things in how we come back. Rick and the strength and conditioning guys have done a really good job."

Several Raiders players joined coach Stuart on Thursday to announce the building of a third house through the Ricky Stuart Foundation.

Stuart's daughter Emma was diagnosed with autism when she was nine.

The foundation was set up in 2011 by Stuart and his family to help support autistic people and their families.

"Emma has been living independently now over the last 18 months now with carers and it's been an amazing change to her independence and personality.

"Kaylie and I thought it was our responsibility through the foundation to share this with a lot of other families.

"This time [a third house] will be independent living for adults living with a disability.

Stuart discusses Foundation plans and season ahead

"We've covered children from four through to adulthood now. It's a great opportunity to do that.

"For a very small foundation, it's successful because of the contribution from our local community and friends.

"We have a lot of friends from Sydney and elsewhere too, but a lot of it is locally built through the community and our region.

"There's no way we could've been talking about our third build without them."

Raiders in 2021

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