Stuart measured in harsh Raiders review

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says all is well at the Raiders despite rumours suggesting otherwise.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says all is well at the Raiders despite rumours suggesting otherwise.

Ricky Stuart is his own worst critic when it comes to Canberra's miserable NRL losing streak but says he's learned how to strike a balance with how he speaks to players.

Five straight losses have heaped pressure on the coach and raised questions about a rift in the club between notorious grill master Stuart and underperforming stars.

In years gone by Stuart would have lifted the lid off the place after a second-half collapse against Newcastle in Wagga Wagga last week that dropped the Raiders, who made the preliminary finals last year, to 12th on the ladder.

However, he said years of experience has taught him to provide at least some positives for players hoping to turn their form around.

"It's not like 15 years ago when you could be a lot tougher on players, I've learnt that," he said on Friday.

"But still, you've got to hear the truth. I've got to hear the truth about me, I'm my own worst critic.

"The review this week, whether it's the right or wrong way to go I showed the boys how good we were in attack, there was some sloppy pieces of defence, but I wanted to show them we weren't far away from winning that game, and should have and could have.

"It's not all negative."

It comes as the Raiders prepare for a crucial showdown with Canterbury in Brisbane on Saturday, with the Bulldogs also desperate for a win to ease pressure on themselves.

Despite the negative headlines surrounding the Raiders, which escalated after the revelation Josh Hodgson had stood down as co-captain last week, Stuart insists all is well in Canberra.

Even if it's contrary to popular opinion.

"I'm sorry to have to feed you positive news because I know no one wants to read that," he said.

"No one wants to hear that we've got high energy in training, nobody wants to hear that we have a really close group of blokes.

"Nobody wants to hear that I'm getting on really well with Josh Hodgson, but I'm sorry about that but we are.

"Of course people are going to be going to be disgruntled.

"I'm sure in any business there's going to be disgruntleness, being cranky with the boss and bad days, but in the end we're men, you get through it.

"The bigger picture is we've got a great club, it's not broken, and what we've built over the last few years with our standards and values is getting us through a tough period and I'm hoping it will happen quickly."

Australian Associated Press