Canberra cooking up extension for Stuart
Ricky Stuart went into this season as one of the NRL coaches under the most pressure.
But the passionate Canberra coach is set to be rewarded for his club's stunning revival with a new two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Raiders until the end of 2022.
In the countdown to Sunday's top-four blockbuster against Manly in Canberra, we can reveal that Stuart's long time agent John Fordham has been working with Raiders' group boss Simon Hawkins on a new deal that is expected to be announced before the play offs.
The extension will give Stuart the chance to equal Tim Sheens as the longest serving coach in the Raiders' history.
Sheens was in charge for nine consecutive seasons from 1988 to 1996, while Stuart took over in 2014.
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Stuart will be right in the running for Dally M coach of the year along Des Hasler and Brad Arthur.
Stuart has really stood up and answered his critics this year but it's not just the fact the Raiders are winning games that has won the fans over.
It is just as much about the tough and exciting brand of football the Raiders are playing that makes them such a joy to watch.
Their comeback win over the Storm last weekend in Melbourne was one of the great performances in recent years that was full of the type of spirit and camaraderie that Stuart has instilled in this team.
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Along with chief executive Don Furner and recruitment chief Peter Mulholland, he has done an outstanding job putting together this roster and the inclusion this year of John Bateman and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has only made it better.
Also having Josh Hodgson back from injury and Jack Wighton returning from suspension has helped.
Last year Hodgson and Wighton only played one game together all season, which was when Hodgson returned from injury and they flogged the Wests Tigers 48-12 at Campbelltown.
The Raiders are hoping for another huge crowd on Sunday in a game that could potentially lock up a top four spot.