Rugby League


Canberra Raiders veteran Brett White praises Ricky Stuart for improving club culture

Retiring Canberra Raiders veteran Brett White insists the club's culture has improved under coach Ricky Stuart this season, if not yet the results.

And White, the stand-in Canberra skipper, is confident the Raiders will soon be able to attract marquee recruits.

Despite the Raiders being in danger of collecting just the second wooden spoon in the club's history and the first since its inaugural season in 1982, he believes positive steps are being taken to ensure long-term success.

He said Stuart had boosted morale among the playing group after a torrid season last year featuring the sackings of Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson and coach David Furner.

''The culture inside of the club has gone up leaps and bounds under Ricky. He's done a fantastic job,'' he said.

''While there have been troubles not being able to sign players, I don't think that'll be a problem in the future.''


The Raiders have a chance to put some space between themselves and the Cronulla Sharks in the race for the bottom when they host St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

White dismissed talk of the Raiders' famous hoodoo over the Dragons, with the Red V not winning in the capital since 2000.

The NRL's marketing department reinforced the statistic with an advertisement in Thursday's Canberra Times, highlighting the last time the Dragons won in Canberra,  Nathan Brown and Laurie Daley were the respective captains, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the iPhone weren't invented, and Sydney hosted the Olympics.

Dugan will be one of the keys if the Dragons are to break the streak. He has turned his career around since being sacked by the Raiders at the start of last season after a string of off-field incidents.

"I don't think the club had much of a choice [but to sack him],'' White said. "It'd be great to have him here, but he's not, so that's the way it is.

"[Dugan and fellow former Raider Joel Thompson] will be wanting to have big games, and when Josh Dugan wants to have a big game, he can be very dangerous.''

The Raiders have signed Melbourne Storm winger Sisa Waqa and English Super League duo Josh Hodgson and Iosia Soliola for next season.

They are also closely watching the movements of several players under contract at other clubs, including Broncos pair Josh Hoffman and Josh McGuire, and Manly custodian Brett Stewart.

White has four games left in his career before he hangs up the boots. He wants the Raiders to show the sort of character displayed in last weekend's 18-10 loss to Parramatta in Darwin - a vast improvement on the previous week's embarrassing effort against the Warriors.

"I certainly don't want to finish [with a wooden spoon],'' he said. ''As long as the boys play like they did on the weekend and put their best effort in and really have a dig, that's good enough for me.''