Raiders united after butting heads: Stuart

·2-min read

Ricky Stuart claims he can now prove Canberra are a united NRL club, saying they have moved on from when he and players have butted heads this year.

The Raiders' 30-16 win over Manly on Thursday night meant they will finish the weekend just one win outside the top eight, and well in contention for the finals.

It comes despite a horror opening to the season, which has seen George Williams exit in messy circumstances and several players supporting him publicly.

Josh Hodgson has also stepped down from the captaincy amid reports he will be forced out, while a social media post from Joseph Tapine's partner about Stuart's tactics also caused headlines.

But Stuart insists that is now well behind them, with Thursday night's win - minus both sides' State of Origin stars - making for just their fourth in 12 matches.

"We can't win that game (against Manly) if we're not mentally and physically willing to want to perform that way," Stuart said.

"We don't win that game tonight if we're broken inside our club. Because I can promise you we're not.

"We're all very competitive individuals. We're a club who strives to be a competitive football team and playing finals football.

"When you are in a competitive and volatile industry, there are always going to be headbutts.

"I have never coached a football team or been in a team where there haven't been headbutts.

"But we're all men and you get over it. It is a lot different inside our club than it is outside it."

Stuart revealed his team had used outside talk of discontent to drive them against Manly, after last they were left embarrassed by last week's 44-6 loss to Gold Coast.

Stuart admitted that in recent months he'd clashed with his players at times, but was adamant none of the situations had forced lingering issues.t

"There have been some headbutts with a couple of players this year and myself," Stuart said.

"That's me trying to get an edge, trying to get them to play their best football.

"That's not me personally attacking my players. The one thing I try so hard to do is build a relationship with my player.

"Some days you might have a headbutt with your best mate, but you've got to be big enough to move on.

"It's not all the players' fault. I am wrong too. But you sit down and discuss it with them and move on."

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