I have written previously this year about the position of Ricky Stuart at the Canberra Raiders. I am not going to rehash all of that: the fact is that I do not believe Ricky Stuart is the right man to be coaching Canberra and I will never be convinced otherwise. He is a team destroyer rather than a team builder and until he is no longer in charge of the team I expect no success for the green machine.
That rant about the coach had, I have to say that I had, until Sunday’s game, had hope that from the player group the Raiders possess at the moment the team could at least be competitive this season and avoid the dreaded wooden spoon having never been a recipient of that “prize” in 33 years in the competition.
Nothing I saw though in another Raider’s capitulation, this time against the Warriors, has done anything to suggest any other conclusion than that the Raiders really do not deserve any other result than to receive the wooden spoon. Unlike the Sharks, who have had significant disruption this year through the drugs saga, there is no real cogent excuse that can be made for just how bad the Raiders are in 2014.
Change is needed at the Raiders. That is plain. Ricky Stuart going is just the tip of the iceberg though. On the management side of the business Don Furner has presided over calamitous and embarrassing season in which the results on the field have been coupled with an inability to attract players to the club. He must be replaced.
On the player side, it is hard to see ornaments to the club come to the end of their careers but it is time for some such players including Campese and Tilse to be moved along or quietly retired. When those players go then the Raiders must trust in the U20s coming through rather than seek to replace like with like as Furner has done in previous years.
I have never supported a team other the Canberra Raiders and I never will. It hurts me to see my proud club at such a low ebb. Regardless of the end result of this season changes just have to be made in Canberra. If you need another reason for this, and I will leave this post at this, then have a look at the plethora of empty seats in the ground on Sunday. The fans are not coming to the games and for the fans to come back change must be made. It is the simple.
Postscript: I originally wrote this blog on Sunday afternoon after the Raiders terrible performance against the Warriors. My original draft was much more forceful in my condemnation: this is the calmer draft!