Stuart backs right edge ahead of Eels test

Pamela Whaley
Coach Ricky Stuart says the Raiders have been working on their right edge but it will take time

A new right-edge combination at Canberra will take time to click but coach Ricky Stuart has no great concerns over their attack despite last week's NRL loss to Manly.

The Raiders were handed their second loss in three games against the injury-hit Sea Eagles, but Stuart is confident halfback George Williams and centre Curtis Scott are on the same page.

This season the left edge with Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana have scored seven tries and leaked just two, compared to Williams, Scott and Nick Cotric who have created five tries and conceded seven.

Ahead of Saturday's clash with Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium, Stuart said the team is not favouring one side at training but the dominant edge tends to take over in matches.

"It will take a little bit of time but it's not something I'm concerned about," he said.

"If you see the work the boys put in and see the combinations and cohesion at training, you'd know yourself it's not far away from the boys clicking.

"I said at the start of the season that it's going to take a bit of time for a couple of important positions to find a bit of cohesion and rhythm but we'll get there.

"The boys are putting in their work and George and Curtis are both very studious towards what they need to do, they take it very personally and that's a good thing."

Both players were criticised following the 14-6 loss to Manly, but Stuart said they alone were not to blame.

"I don't think we're attacking very intelligently at the moment," he said.

"We'll find our mojo soon there."

The Raiders finished last week with 45 per cent possession and a 68 per cent completion rate, something that needs to be corrected against the Eels who rank first in the competition for offloads.

The Eels lost their first game of the season against the Roosters last weekend but showed enough to remain one of the form teams in the competition.

Coach Brad Arthur says the loss to the reigning premiers was a lesson in professionalism, but it also cost them enforcer Nathan Brown for two weeks.

The 27-year-old copped his second suspension of the season, totalling four weeks - half of the games so far.

"It's more disappointing for his teammates and for Nathan," Arthur said.

"He plays the game very tough and very aggressive and he just competes.

"But he got a suspension at the end of last year that was just dumb and he's aware of that, but this year I think he's just come unstuck.

"He commits to everything he does. I don't want him to change how he plays, we just need to keep working on being smart about our approach to it."

**STATS THAT MATTER***

- The Raiders have won 11 of the past 14 games against the Eels, but Parramatta won the most recent match in round 15 last season and will aim for back-to-back wins over Canberra for the first time since 2008-09.

- Only the Roosters (9.5 points per game) concede fewer than the Eels (10.7) and Raiders (12).

- The Eels have won 12 of 15 games at Bankwest Stadium but lost last week against the Roosters and will want to avoid back to back losses at the venue for the first time.