Fortress Canberra: Raiders coach Ricky Stuart wants his team to avoid complacency at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Jay Cronan
Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has implored his side to avoid complacency when they play at home as they look to snap a record Canberra Stadium losing streak against Newcastle on Saturday.
Once one of the NRL's most impenetrable fortresses, the Raiders have lost their past five games at the ground, a new club record.
It follows an incredible run of 12 straight home victories between round 22, 2012 and round 19 last year.
Ironically, Canberra's last home win was a 14-0 defeat of Stuart's former team Parramatta in his final weeks at the Eels.
The Raiders have begun the season with four of their five games on the road, winning two, but lost their only home game, against Gold Coast in round three.
The first four games in the streak were late last year when the club was distracted by off-field issues.
"It's always good to win at home, but it doesn't necessarily mean just because we're at home, we win,'' Stuart said.
"We've spoken about it, we need to be upbeat and positive about that.''
Falling crowd numbers in the NRL and other football codes has been a major talking point this week, but Stuart said it is up to the team to put together strong performances to attract fans.
Stuart knows everyone loves a winner, having featured in Canberra's glory days of the late 1980s and early 1990s when the club won three premierships.
"I've said all along if we're getting big numbers, then it means they're proud of what they're watching,'' Stuart said.
"We've got part of the job there to do, we have to perform well.
"I know what Canberra crowds are like, they'll support and follow you if you're winning and showing you're competitive.
"I thought we've been exceptionally strong away from home, and our energy and quality of effort was there at home against Gold Coast.
"We've just got to get the win.''
Both Canberra and Newcastle are looking to respond after last-start losses to Penrith and North Queensland respectively.
The Raiders have bounced back strongly from their defeats this year by winning the following week, a record prop Paul Vaughan is desperate to keep intact.
"We weren't too happy about the first home game we had against the Titans,'' he said.
"We'll be looking to improve on that, and our main goal is to not lose back-to-back [games] this year.''
RAIDERS' HOME LOSING STREAK
Round three, 2014: Gold Coast 24 bt Canberra 12
Round 26, 2013: Cronulla 38 bt Canberra 18
Round 24, 2013: Manly 36 bt Canberra 22
Round 23, 2013: Canterbury 28 bt Canberra 16
Round 21, 2013: Melbourne 68 bt Canberra 4