Rugby League


Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart confident of more star signings after missing Josh Mansour

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is confident the club can land some big-name signings despite missing out on  Penrith winger Josh Mansour on Tuesday.

The Raiders got their number one target, signing Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco on a three-year deal to replace the outgoing Anthony Milford.

Melbourne Storm second-rower Kevin Proctor and Mansour were both close to joining the Raiders, before deciding to remain loyal to their clubs.

Former State of Origin hooker and Bulldogs rake Michael Ennis was another high-profile target, but the veteran 30-year-old was looking for a three-year deal to leave Sydney.

Stuart would not be drawn on his next targets but, with plenty of money in the salary cap at the Raiders, said he was continuing with his recruitment plan.

"It's always difficult getting the good players and they're the guys that we've got to target," Stuart said.


"There were a number of clubs in for all those players, we weren't the only club to miss out on them, and I'm very confident our club can attract other players that we're targeting."

Stuart had nothing but praise for the way Mansour conducted himself during the contract negotiations and said the Panthers flyer had contacted him personally to inform him of his decision to stay with Penrith.

It had Stuart confident the Raiders were targeting the right people.

Mansour has signed a two-year deal with the Panthers after deciding he wants to stay close to family in Sydney.

He is a chance to make his State of Origin debut for NSW as a replacement for Brett Morris (shoulder) after a stunning two-try display against the Parramatta Eels on Friday.

"Penrith is where my heart is and it’s where I want my footy career to be right now," Mansour said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are playing some really good footy as a team and I am so lucky to be a part of that."

Stuart has been pleased with the effort from his troops the last two weeks, which included a resounding victory over the North Queensland Cowboys and last weekend's 26-12 loss to the highly fancied Sydney Roosters.

He has named an unchanged line-up for Monday's clash against the sixth-placed Brisbane Broncos at Canberra Stadium.

Dane Tilse remains on the bench behind Raiders starting props David Shillington and Brett White.

Tilse joined the Raiders from the Newcastle Knights and backed Stuart's plans to bring more talent to the nation's capital.

"You hear whispers of who might be coming, but that's up to Ricky and who they want to target," Tilse said.

"The more quality players we can get here in the squad the better."

Raiders workhorse Shaun Fensom also backed the push to bring stars to Canberra and help the club return to the NRL finals.

He said the signing of Tedesco had been timely, given young gun Anthony Milford will join the Broncos next season.

"It's good to see the club trying to get as many people here as possible," he said.

"Football's a business these days, it's just like any other job, you've got to recruit."

RAIDERS TEAM: 1.       Anthony Milford, 2.       Reece Robinson, 3.       Jarrod Croker, 4.       Jack Wighton, 5.       Sami Sauiluma, 6.       Terry Campese (c), 7.       Josh McCrone, 8.       David Shillington, 9.       Glen Buttriss, 10.   Brett White, 11.   Josh Papalii, 12.   Jarrad Kennedy, 13.   Shaun Fensom, 14.   Mitch Cornish, 15.   Paul Vaughan, 16.   Dane Tilse, 17. Shannon Boyd.