Half of the Canberra Raiders’ starting side to face the North Queensland Cowboys are off-contract at the end of the season, and Ricky Stuart wants his stars to hurry up and decide on their future.
Raiders stars Josh Papalii, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer are among those still to make a decision on where they want to play next season as the Raiders look to finalise their roster.
Stuart said they weren’t putting any deadlines in place but wanted his stars to give him answers in the next couple of weeks and Green Machine’s coach hinted that they were looking to bring in a rival player on a three-year deal.
“Currently we’re in communication with a current player for a three-year deal and we’re also in negotiation with a player outside of the club for three years,” Stuart said on Thursday morning.
The Green Machine is preparing to face a hungry Cowboys team which is surprisingly sitting just off the bottom of the ladder.
The Raiders coach said they have to improve from their poor start against the Rabbitohs last week and to improve their ill-discipline which costs them three tries.
“When you get three tries put on you in a few minutes, things can go out the door in regard to plans and strategy,” he told media at Canberra Airport.
“Your playmakers are thinking tries rather than completing sets, your mind does wander, and I understand that from a coach’s point of view.”
“But we have spoken about that this week, if you let any team in the NRL now score three or four tries quickly, it’s hard to pull that back.”
Canberra Raiders vs North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, Saturday 7:35 pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Sia Soliola, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Josh Papalii. Interchange: 14. Ata Hingano, 15. Shannon Boyd, 16. Luke Bateman, 17. Dunamis Lui, 18. Liam Knight, 19. Michael Oldfield, 20. Brad Abbey, 21. Jack Murchie.
Cowboys squad: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Scott Bolton, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin, 15. Shaun Fensom, 16. Corey Jensen, 17. Ethan Lowe, 18. Francis Molo, 19. Jake Clifford, 20. Enari Tuala, 21. Sam Hoare.