Stuart reveals secret to Raiders' NRL wins

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says his team have learnt how to protect leads and grind out NRL wins in 2019.

Raiders coach RICKY STUART
Raiders coach RICKY STUART Picture: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart doesn't care how much his team wins by, as long as they win.

The Raiders have finally worked out how to win consistently in 2019, spending most of the NRL season inside the top four.

It marks a drastic change from the previous two seasons which were plagued by close losses, often after surrendering significant leads.

Stuart revealed the secret to their success this year has been hammering home to his players that a 30-point win and one-point win counted the same on the ladder.

"We didn't know how to close out games because we wanted to keep scoring points," Stuart said.

"I'm a firm believer of taking a metre for a metre, not worrying about the next set of six but worrying about this set of six.

"Just play inch by inch, it's not such a technical game, you don't have to think too far in advance and we were.

"There were games we were leading last year by good scorelines and instead of winning 22-0 they wanted to win 44-0.

"We had that mindset of wanting to score more points and more points, where I prefer to knuckle down and jump into the trenches."

Stuart explained the desire to push the pass and score more saw his side make mistakes and cough up the ball.

"Everybody wanted a wonderful reason on why we were losing close games but you're going to lose games when you don't control the football and you have to do more tackling," Stuart said.

"The more tackling you're going to do the more you're going to miss and we didn't have a football team that could sustain that energy last year.

"We have a different quad this year and we focused a lot on correcting our errors with the football and then having a bit more resilience in our defensive efforts.

"It's been about not getting bored with the little things that are getting us in positions to win games and being very precise on fundamentals.

"If you're fundamentals are down pat then the big things come off the back of that."

Canberra are almost back at full strength with winger Nick Cotric returning to face St George Illawarra in Wollongong on Sunday.

"We haven't made in excuses in regards to the horrid run we've had with injuries, we just hope we can get a bit of fortune now and don't have any more," Stuart said.

"It's going to be a very tough game, they're a team that always provides us a challenge.

"It's a very tight eight and as quick as you go up, you can go out the back."


AAP