Canberra Raiders Head Coach Ricky Stuart believes having a squad that can rotate at any time “is the way it should be at this level” as the Raiders prepare to take on the Cronulla Sharks in round two.
Stuart named his side for the weekend to play Cronulla with no changes from the round one 21-man squad, but he says there are no spots guaranteed in his side.
Last year the Raiders were inundated with injuries throughout the season, where the changes to the playing roster were quite often forced.
“One thing which is comforting is there’s no player in the squad that can relax,” Stuart said.
“If you make the NRL team for the weekend and don’t perform or you relax in your preparation, there’s going to be someone banging on the door wanting your spot.
“For me, it’s the way it should be at this level”.
Stuart says that keeping the 17 and 21-man squad balanced builds momentum for the beginning of the season, and it is nice knowing his players can be rested if needed.
“We had to play a lot of players last year with nagging injuries,” Stuart said. “If we get a little bit of luck in regards to injuries, it’s always comforting to know that there’s someone there that can take your role for a week, and give you a week off if you’re in that scenario.”
When keeping the team list the same for round two, Stuart says that he was happy with the way his players performed, particularly his middles off the bench.
“The players performed well, we had a good win, and they deserve to keep their spot,” Stuart said. “It’s nice to have a bench that can come on and make a difference.”
With heavy rain expected in the lead up to Sunday’s clash in Sydney, Stuart says it will be important to get the basics right.
“It’s going to be completely different circumstances to last week,” Stuart said. “It’ll just be about getting the basics right in the wet conditions.”
Match: Sharks v Raiders
Round 2 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney