Ricky Stuart signs extension with Raiders

By , Warren Barnsley is a Roar Guru

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    Ricky Stuart believes stability at Canberra from his re-signing will have the club better placed to push for an NRL premiership.

    Former captain Stuart is set to become the Raiders’ second longest-serving coach after signing a contract extension to the end of 2020.

    The deal comes despite his attempts to steer the club to back-to-back finals appearances faltering.

    In an inconsistent season, the Raiders sit 10th on the ladder midway through the year with six wins.

    “It’s our time now and we’ve got to do everything we possibly can to be a successful unit,” Stuart told reporters on Monday.

    Stuart has coached the Raiders for 89 games since taking over ahead of the 2014 season.

    His new two-year deal – an extension on his current contract – is set to take him past Don Furner (151) for most games as Raiders coach, behind Tim Sheens (220).

    Also in the Raiders’ favour is that the bulk of their stars, including Jack Wighton, Blake Austin, Shannon Boyd, Jarrod Croker, Josh Hodgson, Josh Papalii and Joey Leilua, are contracted next season.

    “The club has a lot of stability at the moment and it’s important to continue that,” Stuart said.

    “I’m just proud of the fact the players are buying into the values we’ve set.

    “This club’s bigger than everybody. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than the players.”

    Nonetheless, the Raiders have been disappointing as they attempt to go one better than last year’s narrow preliminary final loss to Melbourne.

    Their last-start 24-20 loss to Penrith pre-bye was the sixth time they’ve lost a game by 10 points or less this season.

    Stuart is adamant the Raiders’ show of belief in him will pay off, starting with Saturday’s home clash with Brisbane.

    “We’ve been very, very strong with effort and contribution to the game … and that’s important because results will turn if you keep working hard,” he said.

    “We haven’t our lost our talent. It’s just a matter of getting a few more wins now.”

    Stuart, who has had coaching stints at the Sydney Roosters, Cronulla and Parramatta, failed to the Raiders the finals in his first two years at the helm before narrowly losing to Melbourne in last year’s preliminary final.

    Stuart had an illustrious playing career at halfback with the Raiders, winning three premierships.

    © AAP 2017

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