Brett White was left out of the Raiders' team against the Titans. Photo: Jay Cronan
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has revealed Brett White's shock omission from the Raiders team which beat the Gold Coast on Sunday was because of tactics not form, and confirmed he will return against Melbourne next week.
There was talk veteran prop White, who is yet to announce whether he plans to play on next year, could have played his last NRL game after he was replaced in the side by Joel Edwards.
Stuart eased those fears, saying the 32-year-old's style simply didn't suit the game plan they wanted to adopt against Gold Coast in the 36-20 win.
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Roberts, Faifai Loa(2), Gordon||Tries||4||Tries||6||Players||Lee, Milford(2), Croker, Fensom, McCrone|
|Players||Gordon 2/4 (50%)||Conversions||2||Conversions||5||Players||Croker 5/6 (83%)|
|Players||Penalty goals||0||Penalty goals||1||Players||Croker 1/1 (100%)|
|Players||Field goals||0||Field goals||0||Players|
He also praised the vice-captain's attitude in overcoming his disappointment and accepting the decision.
"It was a style of game today I thought wasn't going to suit Whitey's brand, he'll play next week,'' Stuart said.
"He's just a terrific clubman, and he understood it.
"I take my hat off to a bloke like that and that's why we love him, he's got great character.
"He was disappointed but understood the reasons.''
The decision was vindicated with Paul Vaughan (113 metres, 25 tackles) strong when promoted to the starting line-up and fellow youngster Shannon Boyd (96 metres) effective off the bench.
Canberra has one of the youngest teams in the NRL and skipper Terry Campese is hopeful White can be convinced to go around again.
"Even after the game you saw him congratulate the boys on the way in and had the biggest smile on his face,'' Campese said.
"He helps me out a lot and it would be good to see him play again, he does a lot for the kids.''
Canberra's outside back crisis suffered another blow with Brenko Lee expected to be sidelined for two to four weeks with a hamstring injury.
Playing his first game at centre after two games on the wing, the 18-year-old scored the opening try of the match but limped off in the second half.
It's the last thing Canberra needed after Jack Wighton, the man he replaced, broke his thumb in the last-start loss to Wests Tigers.
Winger Edrick Lee (ankle) is also out for the season.
Brenko Lee was too distraught to talk to the media after the match, but has shown glimpses of why he's rated a star of the future with three tries in three NRL games.
"It's hard to create cohesion and players getting used to one another when we have players going down all the time,'' Stuart said.
"But it happens to all teams, not just us.
"Playing under that bit of adversity [was impressive], it was a physical game on top of losing players.''
Matt Allwood, who has signed with the Warriors for next year, is likely to earn a recall for Saturday's trip to Melbourne.
"Losing Brenko is disappointing, another centre down,'' Campese said.
"I felt sorry for Jack last week, he's a terrific player and has had a couple of bad injuries the last couple of years.
"Now Brenko got his turn and the same thing happens. The next person who comes in has big shoes to fill.''