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Raiders not focused on Roosters: Stuart

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
30th August, 2020
14

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart denied his players’ heads had been turned by their looming NRL grand final rematch with the Sydney Roosters rather than focusing on lowly Canterbury.

The Raiders almost stumbled against the last-placed Bulldogs on Sunday night, trailing 20-12 at halftime before a Jack Wighton-inspired second half surge secured a 14-point victory.

Stuart said he relaxed once five-eighth Wighton scored twice within six minutes just after the break to set up the win

“Jack Wighton got the game by the throat and took it on himself to get the us on the front foot,” Stuart said.

“When he did I felt really confident sitting back on the sideline cause I could just see in Jack’s demeanour that he wasn’t going to let this one slip.”

Stuart gave credit to the Bulldogs for their early lead and said it wasn’t because his team were already looking ahead to the Roosters.

“If I had a player who was complacent I’d smell that, and I’d see it through the week,” Stuart said.

“We haven’t even spoken about the Roosters game and it’s just another game of football that we have to try to turn up and win but we haven’t focused on that and I get embarrassed by getting asked that question.

“There was no complacency against the Bulldogs – they played good football.”

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The Raiders host the Roosters at GIO Stadium, looking for their second win of the season after a four-point win at the SCG in round 10.

Centre Curtis Scott will go for scans after suffering a knock to the leg he broke in 2016.

“He’s got a plate down that left leg and he gets a lot of pain when it’s been whacked like that,” Stuart said.

“Hopefully it’s only pain – there’s not real one spot that’s causing much disturbance which is a good sign.”

Forward Sia Soliola will see a surgeon on Monday as he looks to return from a serious facial fracture by Stuart wasn’t confident.

“We’ve got to protect Sia from Sia,” the coach said.

“He’s too tough for his own good so I won’t let him play until we are totally comfortable he can get a bang in the face again.”

© AAP