Canberra hooker Tom Starling has been charged over an alleged intimidation incident, clouding Josh Hodgson’s expected move to Wests Tigers.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says it’s time for his club to match the consistency of five-eighth Jack Wighton and put him on their shoulders.
Stuart says the Raiders must lift for star playmaker Wighton in a must-win clash with St George Illawarra.
Wighton, who became the club’s first Dally M medallist in 25 years last season, has shouldered the load through 2021 as injuries and inconsistency have ravaged the Raiders.
On the eve of their showdown with the Dragons, Stuart said the playing group now has to return the favour.
“We’ve been very inconsistent all season and it makes it very hard for Jack,” he said on Thursday.
“We’re all very happy to put Jack on our shoulders when he’s taking the game on and winning the game, it’s now our turn to load up for Jack to play well and to help him.
“We’ve got to go out there and play well for him now and just let him fall into our show of good form.”
Earlier this week fellow Origin representative Josh Papalii conceded it’s do-or-die for the club after a disappointing 34-24 loss to Newcastle.
Stuart cited the physicality of the contest as the difference when his side failed to build upon their three-game win streak heading into Round 20 but said injuries hadn’t helped.
“People don’t understand and realise, I think we’ve used our fifth fullback now (and) we’ve had a change-up around the nine and in our halves, (this year)” he said.
“There’s been some critical change through injury, departure in our club’s spine this year, which just doesn’t help the flow of your attack or the flow of opportunity for individuals.
“Without making excuses, that just doesn’t help.
“We’ve been very inconsistent as a team this season and we need to find consistency very, very quickly because we’re running out of time.”