Furious Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has labelled the Queensland government‘s refusal to allow his side to fly into the state earlier on game day as “just another punch in the head” ahead of their preliminary final against Melbourne.
The Raiders had requested to arrive in Queensland on Friday hours before the game to allow the team to relax at a hotel before the 7.50pm kick-off.
However, Canberra’s request has been rejected after the club was given less than two hours to fulfil the government‘s biosecurity demands, which the former NSW State of Origin coach said was “typical”.
“That‘s all changed overnight, which has compromised our preparation again,” Stuart said in his pre-match press conference.
“The NRL have been trying to get into communication with the Queensland government for the past three weeks to get this arranged and ticked off.
“Typical of the Queensland government. I don‘t want to talk about it.
“It won‘t affect us, it hasn’t all year. It’s just another punch in the head that we’ve copped in the week leading up to a game.”
The Raiders, like the Warriors and the Storm, have faced logistic and travel obstacles all season to fulfil their playing commitments.
They have been flying in and out to most venues during their 2020 campaign.
Captain's Run! Who's ready? We are!
Brought to you by HART Sport. #NRLfinals pic.twitter.com/dpU98akOCy
Stuart said he wouldn’t let it affect their performance in the preliminary final showdown.
“I can‘t be more pleased with how this whole squad have handled the situation of where we’ve ended up this season,” Stuart said. ”We’ve still got more in us.
“From a Canberra Raiders point of view, no team has had the magnitude of this type of challenge for 12 months.
“It‘s no one’s fault, it’s just the challenge we’ve had because we’re an out-of-town team.
“It‘s been a really difficult season and these guys are tough individuals. That’s why we’re here, because we’re tough.
They haven‘t let it disturb the processes for us to get to the game, they haven’t let it disturb their preparation.
“It hasn‘t been the best preparation, but they’ve been mentally tough enough to get through it and get onto the field.
“I always say that we just need to get onto the sideline in the best possible physical and mental condition. At times that‘s been a real challenge for me as a coach of our team.
“They just keep backing up. There‘s not a game where they are not competing in. That’s what makes me proud as their coach.”
Source: Read Full Article