Ricky Stuart vows to right Canberra Raiders ship after ‘embarrassing’ defeat to Cronulla Sharks

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Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has vowed to turn around the fortunes of his young side after Canberra were thrashed 40-0 by the Sharks.

The Raiders were outplayed by a top-of-the-table Sharks side who handed in arguably their best performance of the season.

Unsurprisingly, Stuart struck a dejected figure in his post-match press conference, preferring not to elaborate too much on the “embarrassing” defeat.

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“It’s very hard to sum up something that happened 10 minutes ago,” he told reporters.

“There was too many missed tackles. There was a lot of poor football.

“You don’t see something like that coming.

“It was one of those games of football we have to leave in the past … we have a very short week.

“I’m not trying to be rude or disrespectful to you guys (journalists), but I don’t really feel like dwelling on much of it at the moment.”

It’s no secret that the Raiders are fielding one of the most inexperienced sides in the comp, especially at key positions.

Chevy Stewart, 18, is playing at fullback in place of an injured Jordan Rapana and 13-gamer Kaeo Weekes started at halfback in his club debut after Jamal Fogarty injured his bicep against the Broncos last week.

In addition to Rapana and Fogarty, the Raiders are also missing skipper Elliott Whitehead and Origin rep Corey Horsburgh due to injury.

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Weekes partnered 19-year-old Ethan Strange in the halves, with the two players unable to spark much in attack as the Raiders were very predictable when challenging the Sharks’ line throughout the game.

“He didn’t have a lot of help tonight,” Stuart said when asked how he thought Weekes fared.

The Raiders coach, who was celebrating his 500th NRL game as a head coach, admits the injuries have and will continue to take a toll, but refuses to use it as an excuse.

Instead, he is keen on “working hard” to getting this team into a position to fight for a finals spot.

“I’m not backtracking from the path we’ve taken with a lot of those younger players, but I didn’t expect at this stage of the season having to play so many of them altogether,” Stuart said.

“Please don’t see this as an excuse, because these young blokes are all good players. There was some poor football out there today, but we got so many games sitting on the sidelines, it makes the job so much harder for those young guys to play first grade.

“They’re hurting and I’m hurting for them.”

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Stuart was asked by a reporter whether there will be lessons learned from tonight’s result.

“You don’t want to be learning through those types of games and results. Cronulla was way too good for us tonight,” Stuart answered.

“I’ve just got to be patient and keep working with the younger players, because those boys that are injured they’re not back for a number of weeks.

“We have two to three months of this, but I can assure you we will keep working at it and play better.

“We had a good number of fans out there tonight. I felt embarrassed but we’ll just keep working hard.”

Originally published as Ricky Stuart vows to right Raiders ship after ‘embarrassing’ defeat

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