Ricky Stuart is determined to see his club command more respect from rugby league broadcasters and success in "one of the hardest seasons ever for a Canberra Raiders team" looms as the perfect way to get it.
Stuart slammed the NRL's free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine on Thursday after his side was shunned from marquee timeslots despite their premiership favouritism and being grand finalists last year.
The Raiders will play just three times on Channel Nine in the revamped draw, down from the eight they were initially promised for the 2020 season.
"I get very disillusioned ... disappointed for our commercial team here and all of our sponsors who would love some free-to-air advertisements," Stuart said.
"For our fans who would like to watch us on free to air, I feel sorry for them. Again, we're basically just shoved into the background and not given, or shown, any type of respect from the broadcaster in wanting to put more of our games on free-to-air television.
"I think we deserve the right. I believe the way we play the game, we deserve the right to be on free-to-air more often."
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Stuart says the station his side is playing on is among the least of his concerns but the Raiders mentor has grown frustrated the club isn't rewarded despite warranting more free-to-air exposure.
It comes as the Raiders prepare for an intense seven-week stint on the road with doubts surrounding any matches at Canberra Stadium this year.
The Raiders will play home games at Campbelltown Stadium until at least round nine but Stuart is backing his team to overcome adversity in search of grand final redemption.
The Raiders are set to travel via a chartered flight to reduce travel time on game days after having the toughest schedules in the competition.
The New Zealand Warriors have been forced to move to Gosford to play this year. But other than the Warriors, the Raiders are the only team travelling more than an hour to get to "home" games.
The NRL is yet to announce whether it will allow games to be played in Canberra at all this year, despite the city's declining coronavirus rate. There have been no positive cases recorded in more than two weeks.
"It's going to be one of the hardest seasons ever for a Canberra Raiders team with the intense travel we have early in this season, but I really believe I've got the right group to embrace the difficulties that lay ahead," Stuart said.
"We've got a lot of travel in the first 10 weeks of play. I'm hoping we can get back to [Canberra Stadium] as soon as we possibly can because we're really making it a very difficult preparation for us playing.
"We've got some very heavy travel in the first 10 weeks, and it's going to take a very committed group.
"It's important to come alive now and understand it's round three and we're back into the swing of things very quickly."
Canberra's first two free-to-air fixtures come on a Sunday afternoon against the Newcastle Knights in round four and a Sunday against Manly-Warringah in round six.
The third is a grand final rematch against the Sydney Roosters in the Thursday night timeslot in round 10.
The Broncos have 13 more free-to-air games. Over 20 rounds Parramatta have 13, the Storm and South Sydney 12, and the Sydney Roosters 11. The only teams with fewer than Canberra are the New Zealand Warriors (1) and Gold Coast Titans (1).
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NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo claims discrepancies in the free-to-air balance were partly a result of the desire to schedule blockbusters to relaunch the season.
"It's really complex because it's made up of a number of different factors," Abdo said.
"Turnaround times between games and form, and therefore our broadcasters are providing different preferences.
"This year is slightly different because we wanted to really focus on giving fans blockbusters at the start and the end. We've been able to achieve that."