Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the contenders and pretenders for the 2019 NRL season.
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Ricky Stuart has implemented a bold blueprint to help the Raiders stamp out crucial faults costing them games, such as building leads.
Starting from today’s match against the Dragons, the coach has warned that any player found contributing to the danger of a comfortable buffer – something historically renowned for presenting most sides the easiest path to victory – will face a lengthy suspension.
Stuart has adopted the plan following the Raiders’ recent series of hopeless collapses, with the grand vision for his side to eventually master the fine art of winning games without ever being in front.
Despite the tactic of constructing a points advantage over your opponent remaining somewhat fashionable for over a century, Canberra have somehow transformed the concept in to a habitual hope-gouging risk that inflicts feral anxiety on their fans.
Such is it’s predictability, the team’s weekly capitulation is now brought to you by Belconnen Nissan, where you can ‘snatch a deal from the jaws of victory.’
Stuart has laboured in vain to address the issue with all manner of witchcraft such as positional switches, logistical overhauls and even niche psychological therapies like just giving the ball to Leipana.
Consideration was even given to renegotiating all existing contracts to be strictly short-term, bringing them in line with the playing group’s attention span. But this never formulated after the club became distracted by something on youTube.
However, the former Origin coach believes he has found the “foolproof unorthodoxy” to finally reverse his side’s image as the foolish white guy leading the marathon who is invariably lapped by Kenyans to finish a valiant 46th.
Adopting the old rugby league fundamental of ‘nothing good happens when you’re in front,’ Stuart concludes that not striving for a scoreboard advantage is the only way to return to the winners circle.
He will now indoctrinate his players that leads are now as “welcome in Canberra as Todd Carney” and a greater danger to the town than rogue kangaroos and Jack Wighton’s hands.
But he stopped short of a complete radical overhaul, confirming the plan will remain underpinned by basic fundamentals like completing sets, kicking to corners and axing point-scoring liabilities like Jarrod Croker.
Stuart boasted the strategy will also benefit fans, as it will grant them the long-awaited privilege of leaving games early due to disgust and not fear.
But while hopeful of immediate results, he admitted the news was not well received by his players.
“I’ve got a lot of blokes hurting in there” the coach lamented.
“Probably because I just broke the news that a game runs for 80 minutes.”
In the interim, Stuart will also speak to the referees boss about the unfair bias of officials who award his team points.