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Ricky blasts ‘pathetic’ Raiders after collapse
A furious Ricky Stuart unloaded on his troops after they allowed yet another lead to slip through their fingers in the second half.
“I’m sick of defending playing 40 minutes of football,” he said after the Raiders blew a 12-0 half-time lead to lose 18-12 to North Queensland at GIO Stadium.
“The way we started that second half was pathetic – and there’s some individuals who just didn’t start the way they needed to start in the second half to get us back on the front foot.
“It’s just not on. I’m sick of it.”
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Captain Elliott Whitehead agreed that the team was not playing for 80 minutes – as Canberra threw away a double-digit lead for the seventh time in just over two years.
Stuart blasts ‘pathetic’ Raiders after loss
The coach had not yet heard Jack Wighton’s comments after the game, where he accused some players of ‘taking naps’ – but backed his star player entirely.
“He’s 100 per cent right,” Stuart said.
“There’s individuals there that have got to have a good look at themselves because it was not NRL standard. It’s nowhere near the standards we want to set as a football team.”
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One of the most frustrating aspects of Canberra’s season so far, which now sits at two wins and four losses and a game with Penrith up next, is that Wighton and a couple of others are playing brilliantly.
Stuart singled out Wighton, Joseph Tapine and Josh Papalii as key contributors, while others were lacking.
“Those boys need supporting – there’s certain blokes that ain’t contributing to the standard that they need to contribute to, it’s as simple as that.
“I keep sitting here defending them, it’s not going to solve anything.”
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While Stuart declined to point fingers specifically, he was asked about the key play in the final few minutes, when Xavier Savage was bundled into touch on a kick return.
The Cowboys scored the winning try through Jeremiah Nanai on the ensuing set.
Nanai flies through to give Cowboys the lead
“That’s why Xavier Savage hasn’t been playing first grade, because he’s still learning the game,” he said.
“So many of you people want X-factor, so many people want Xavier out there – that’s why Xavier hasn’t been playing, he’s still learning the awareness of the game, but I’m only a dumb coach.
“Everybody else wants X-factor. Well we haven’t got X-factor at the moment, we’re still teaching young people how to play a game of football at an NRL standard.”
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