The return of Raiders captain Jarrod Croker for this weekend’s clash against the Tigers will bring comfort and guidance to the team, insists coach Ricky Stuart.
“It is nice having players return from injury that give other players comfort and he (Croker) gives the whole squad comfort,” Stuart said.
With Croker’s pre-season injury influencing the team’s structure, the Raiders will be boosted by having some familiarity back in their line-up for Sunday.
This is something that Stuart believes will benefit the team, with Elliott Whitehead returning to second row and Sia Soliola returning to his impact role off the bench.
“Having Jarrod back puts Elliott back into his normal position and as I say gives us a little more normality towards our structure on the field,” Stuart said.
This weekend will also see Dave Taylor start on the bench for the Raiders, having finished his two-match suspension.
Stuart believes he will be a good benefit coming off the bench but also claimed that he isn’t expecting too much from Taylor given his long stint out of the game.
“It’s just a matter of him getting back into the fold of playing NRL, he hasn’t played NRL football for a long time and I’m not expecting him to find his feet for at least half a season,” Stuart said.
The Tigers showed just how frightening their attack can be in round one against Souths and Stuart knows just how important the Raiders defence will need to be on Sunday.
“They get a lot of energy out of their attack, they are a very fast and sharp attacking team and you just have to be good defensively,” Stuart said.
Stuart raised some other key areas that needed to be improved, emphasising that “we need to be more disciplined and better with our control of the football.”
Watch Stuart's full interview in the video above.
Written by Ricky Kelly.