Ricky Stuart fumes over NRL plans for State of Origin players

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·Sports Reporter
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Ricky Stuart (pictured right) during an interview and (pictured left) James Tedesco embracing Patrick Carrigan after State of Origin.
Ricky Stuart (pictured right) has ripped into the proposed idea that State of Origin players will be handed a mandatory one game rest period. (Getty Images)

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has taken aim over claims State of Origin players will face a mandatory one game rest period after a match.

State of Origin is often considered the fastest and most gruelling arena in rugby league and Wednesday night's Game III decider was a perfect example of the toll it can take on the players.

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A number of stars were ruled out early due to concussion, while players such as Matt Burton and Jai Arrow came out looking busted up.

Any player that participated in Queensland's 22-10 win over NSW wanting a rest on the weekend would surely be pardoned after the ferocious encounter.

And, for player safety, the Rugby League Players Association is reportedly pushing for a mandatory stand-down rule after Origin matches to be included in the next collective bargaining agreement.

This doesn't sit well with veteran Raiders coach Stuart.

The former NSW coach believes it is an insult to the current managers who already look after their Origin players.

And he thinks it shouldn't be enforced.

"I can't see how that should be an NRL decision, that should be a club decision," Stuart told reporters.

"Coaches aren't given enough credit for what we do from a high performance point of view for our players.

"It's not the games that are going to hurt them, it's the training, the loads they do during the week.

"I hope there's a little bit more consultation over that before they go racing off and making a decision because I coach for the care of my player on and off the field and I feel that they need a rest ... I'll rest them."

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Queensland enforcer Josh Papalii was the only Raider who played on Wednesday night and has been picked for their trip to Melbourne on Sunday.

NSW's Jack Wighton was named at 18th man and didn't take to the field.

However, Stuart said as a veteran coach he has always looked after players returning from representative duty.

"It's not the 40 minutes or 50 minutes that Josh would play ...it's about your loads leading into those games," he said.

"I could have brought both boys in (on Thursday), changed the training around to have them training but I didn't do that.

Josh Papalii (pictured) puts the ball down during State of Origin.
Josh Papalii (pictured) is set to back up for the Raiders on the weekend after State of Origin. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

"I know what it's like after winning Origin matches, I want Josh to enjoy that moment ... get back and get a bit of time with his family."

If they were forced to go without Papalii it would add to an emerging injury crisis for the Raiders, who are sweating on the fitness of captain Elliott Whitehead (knee) and winger Nick Cotric (leg), although Stuart expects both to play.

The Cowboys have already announced they will rest Maroons debutant star Tom Dearden.

While a number of Maroons players such as Ben Hunt and Daly Cherry-Evans are expected to back up at club level this weekend.

with AAP

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