Ricky Stuart is fed up? Guess what Ricky: so are Canberra Raiders fans!!!

I have written fulsomely on this blog about the position of Ricky Stuart as coach of the Canberra Raiders.  In the aftermath of another appalling display be the Raiders yesterday Stuart made the following comments in his press conference: 

“Losing two Origin players put us in this rut,” Stuart said.

“We are in a position and they can jump into us and bag us for what it is.

“(But) until I get Origin players in, it’s not going to change and that’s my job. I’ve got to cut to the chase and be fair dinkum.

“Until we grow our own, our fans are going to have to stick solid. I’m getting sick of it and fed-up with give you one-line answers. “As much as it will sound like I’m making excuses, I’m telling it exactly how it is.”

Glossing over the obvious contradiction between Stuart’s alleged need to get Origin players in and the need for the Raiders to “grow our own”, I have to say that this statement from Stuart only goes to enhance my personal call for his removal from the club. 

Here are 3 reasons why: 

  1. Ricky Stuart is getting fed up with giving the press one line answers?  How about being fed up with the way the team is performing Ricky and actually having a plan to rectify the situation.  Week after week our proud jersey is on the field but the players filling it look bereft of direction and a game plan: that is the coaches job and Stuart is not doing it. 
  2. Josh Dugan was removed from the club on 14 March 2013 for numerous breaches of his contract the last which was encapsulated by his open defiance of the then coach.  Frankly, he was a cancer on the club.  Blake Ferguson was removed from the club on 6 September 2013 having been suspended since 17 June 2013 after being charged with indecent assault (a charge on which he was later found guilty).  Before their removal from the club Messrs Dugan and Ferguson had played a grand total of four State of Origin games between them.  Can anyone cogently argue that: a. these players are irreplaceable and b. the removal of such badly behaved players from the club culture was not a good thing? I certainly can not! 
  3. Stuart now seems to be suggesting that until he can attract State of Origin standard talent to the club the club is destined to have seasons like this.  I don’t know about you but if I was one of the plethora of players under contract to the club for 2015 I would be reading that comment this morning over my recovery breakfast and wondering “well what about me?”.  Clearly Stuart has no faith in the players he has to get the job done otherwise why would he state that he needs to attract Origin standard players to win? 

I appreciate Ricky asking me, as a Raiders fan, to “stick solid”.  Thank you for asking to do something that I have done since I was 8 years old and first followed the lime green.  

Now I ask Ricky Stuart to do something for the fans: leave.  I ask this because, by his own statements, he has no faith in our current crop of players and is blaming the current state of affairs on the dismissal of two of the worst behaved players in recent memory from the club.  This mindset is NOT what the Canberra Raiders need and for the good of the club Ricky Stuart can not remain in control. 

Canberra Raiders: The Ricky Stuart Effect strikes again

When the Canberra Raiders appointed Ricky Stuart as head coach for season 2014 on a long term deal I wrote an open letter to him where I requested the following for this season:

Coach the team to play every game hard and for 80 minutes and drop any player who does not do so.

If a player breaches team rules or is ill disciplined sack him. This includes any infractions related to alcohol. Another “Dugan / Ferguson” fiasco must not be countenanced.

If a player does not wish to play for our club and notes in the media that he wants to move elsewhere sack him. Another situation like that which Anthony Milford has placed the team in must not be countenanced.

Keep the young talent in the under 20s team in Canberra and sign them for the long term.

Still be the coach in 2015.

(https://shumpty77.com/2013/09/17/canberra-raiders-an-open-letter-to-ricky-stuart/ )

Off the back of two games in a row where my team has gifted the opposition the victory conceding over 50 points it is pretty clear that the first imperative is not being met by Coach Stuart. That has left me to wonder whether the final imperative I requested is realistic or even wanted by either the club or the fans.

The fact that we are again seeing what I have termed the Ricky Stuart effect with the Canberra Raiders this season. The “effect” is simple: Stuart is not an improver of teams rather he is a destroyer. Look at his record (as I did in this post https://shumpty77.com/2013/09/03/canberra-raiders-the-search-for-a-new-coach-and-the-ricky-stuart-conundrum/ ) and show me a team he has improved. You will not be able too.

Now consider the Raiders of recent years and compare them to the rabble of 2014: the squad is not that different to previous years but on current form the wooden spoon looks the only realistic outcome. That is certainly a regression for a team that two years ago was 6th on the ladder and in the finals and last year won 10 games. I would be astonished if, on current form, the Raiders win another game.

Few coaches would survive two 50 point thrashings in a row but Ricky Stuart will as he is the teflon man of NRL coaching (imagine if Matt Elliott got the chances Stuart has). That being the case it is ridiculous to suggest that he should be sacked immediately. Equally, as a Raiders fan I have written off this season and, if you haven’t yet, you should too. I have also written off Ricky Stuart as coach for 2015 because I do not want my team to get any worse.

The next coach must be:

1. a leader of men;
2. a winner; and
3. a coach that improves his team.

Are Craig Bellamy or Wayne Bennett available?

Canberra Raiders: An Open Letter to Ricky Stuart

Dear Ricky,

Congratulations on your new job with the Canberra Raiders. I am a long time fan of the club, having first having an interest in the Raiders in 1985. Based in Brisbane, it has oft been difficult to travel to Canberra Stadium but, until this year, I have never had any trouble giving my full throated support to the club that I love. I have to say though that this year has pushed me to the limits of my endurance.

I will concede I am not a supporter of your appointment to the head coaching role of the team but now you are here I pledge to you that I will give you my full support. That support though comes with some demands, because I do not think I, or many other Canberra fans, will survive another season like that which was 2013.

I do not require the team to make the finals for it to be considered to be a successful year in 2014 but, Ricky, if you could undertake to do the following I, and my fellow Canberra Raiders fans I am sure, will be happy:

Coach the team to play every game hard and for 80 minutes and drop any player who does not do so.

If a player breaches team rules or is ill disciplined sack him. This includes any infractions related to alcohol. Another “Dugan / Ferguson” fiasco must not be countenanced.

If a player does not wish to play for our club and notes in the media that he wants to move elsewhere sack him. Another situation like that which Anthony Milford has placed the team in must not be countenanced.

Keep the young talent in the under 20s team in Canberra and sign them for the long term.

Still be the coach in 2015.

I don’t think the foregoing is too much to ask Ricky; I am not asking for a premiership or even a winning season, what I am asking for is you to return my sense of pride in following this team that I have supported for 28 years.

If you can not do these things then it is going to be another season of lament for those of us Canberra Raiders fans who are left which can not be a good thing for the club.

Thank you in anticipation.

Stephen

Canberra Raiders: Why Stuart? What is the argument for him being coach?

The Canberra Raiders have released a statement today confirming that they are presently negotiating with Ricky Stuart to be the club’s coach for the 2014 season and beyond.

As a long time Canberra Raiders fan I have a simple question: why?

Why is the Canberra Raiders chasing a coach who:

· Presided over a team that only won 5 games in NRL season 2013.

· Has had numerous conduct issues over his time as a coach.

· At the last two clubs he led presided over an exodus of players and then left before seeing out the job he started.

I understand Stuart’s keenness to move and I understand that he is a legend of the club. Is being a legend of the club enough though? Better put: if Stuart was not a legend of the club would he be in the running for this coaching role? Given his coaching record of recent times I would hazard a guess that he would not be.

In a season where player behaviour, management ill-discipline and poor on field results have been the stories of the Raiders season they needed to get the decision on the new coach correct and that coach had to be a strong manager of men who has a record of winning or, of at least, creating a disciplined and winning culture. I see no evidence to suggest that Stuart fits that category.

I see no argument for Stuart’s ascension to the role of coach of the Raiders but for the fact that he is a legend of the club. In a field that includes Neil Henry and Kevin Walters among others he is not the strongest candidate.

All of the foregoing said, as it seems certain he will be the next coach of the Raiders I am left with the hope that Stuart can coach the Raiders to victory next season. If he does not then it is going to be another long season for those who follow the “Green Machine”.

Canberra Raiders: The search for a new coach and the Ricky Stuart conundrum

I have read with dismay a growing wave of rumour and innuendo that Ricky Stuart will leave the Parramatta Eels at the end of the season and sign a contract with the Canberra Raiders for season 2014. As a long time Canberra Raiders fan I can not think of a worse decision those in power at Canberra could make. Here are Stuart’s statistics as an NRL coach:

Sydney Roosters:

Games: 130
Wins: 79
Losses: 50

Cronulla Sharks:

Games: 74
Wins: 33
Losses: 41

Parramatta Eels:

Games: 23
Wins: 5
Losses: 18

In both the case of Stuart’s tenure at the Roosters and his tenure at the Sharks, the teams he was coaching got worse over time given that the Roosters went from winning the competition in Stuart’s first year to not making the finals in 2005 and 2006 and the Sharks went from making the preliminary final in 2008 to again being out of the finals in 2009.

Since Stuart has been at the Eels he has, simply put, not been successful and the player moves he has made have not been successful. The Eels will win the wooden spoon this season.

There is a bigger problem for me though: what kind of message does it send to a player group reeling from player behaviour issues and players breaking contracts early to engage a coach who has been in trouble for behavioural breaches (2008 World Cup for example) and who, assuming he makes himself available to coach the Raiders, has broken his last two contracts before they were up.

The Raiders’ players need a coach that they can look up to and aspire to be like and the fans of the club need a coach they can trust after season that has been in 2013. Forget that Stuart is a legend of the club for a moment: the numbers and his conduct just do not stack up to being the coach needed to take the club forward.