Raiders coach Stuart pens new deal until end of 2029

After inking a four-year contract extension, Ricky Stuart says he wants to change every Canberra player’s life by sharing the feeling of winning a premiership with the Raiders. 

Ahead of the 30-year anniversary of the club’s last NRL premiership, Canberra announced on Wednesday that Stuart had signed a new deal to the end of 2029.

Canberra play Canterbury, who the Raiders beat in the 1994 grand final, to open Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

And the reunion has fuelled the fire within Stuart to be the man to lead the Green Machine back to their glory days when he was the team’s halfback

“It (a premiership) is everyone's goal,” Stuart said. 

“I’ve been fortunate that I've done it as a coach, I'm fortunate I've done it as a player. 

“I've just walked out of the meeting with the players and I touched on the ‘94 reunion theme. 

“My ultimate goal is to change every one of my players' lives that I coach, one day hoping we can get to win the grand final because it changes your life.”

Stuart has long stressed the need for patience with Canberra after he arrived at the club in 2014. 

He struggled to hit the high notes in his first few seasons, but the former Australian Test halfback has taken the club to two preliminary finals and a 2019 grand final defeat across his 10-year reign.

Stuart deserves credit for making the finals in four of the past five seasons while overturning the club’s roster. 

Similar challenges are ahead, with Jordan Rapana, Elliott Whitehead and Josh Papalii approaching the back end of their careers.

But Stuart is buoyed by the prospect of transitioning an emerging young group headlined by five-eighth Ethan Strange, centre Matt Timoko and fullback Chevy Stewart into the bedrock of the Raiders' future success. 

“Building a roster to be competitive is one thing, building a roster to be competitive to make the top four is another,” Stuart said. 

“I've got no doubt about our development, we've proven that we can develop players into Origin and Test players.

“We've changed tack in regards to some of our recruitment strategy, and we've looked at younger players and bringing them in earlier. 

“We've got another couple of young boys that we've signed that we will announce over the next couple of weeks.”

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