The Canberra Raiders' fate rests in their own hands as they look to bury the distractions of broken contracts and mass changes and rediscover their brilliant best.
So says former Raiders captain Alan Tongue as his old club prepares to return home to face the St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium on Friday.
Canberra will enter the clash determined to snap a two-game losing streak as they look to brush off the disruption caused by John Bateman's looming exit from the club.
History suggests they can do just that after they stunned the Melbourne Storm when the competition resumed in May, days after news emerged Bateman was free to test the market.
Now fresh contract dramas combined with a revamped squad loom as a major hurdle for the Raiders as they look to get their season back on track before facing the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne in consecutive weeks.
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Tongue says the loss of Corey Horsburgh to a Lisfranc injury - potentially for the season - looms as a huge challenge. The backline has also been reshuffled with Michael Oldfield and Bailey Simonsson in, and Curtis Scott [bench] and Jordan Rapana [calf injury] out.
How big of a role that all plays is down to the players themselves with coach Ricky Stuart determined to keep disruptions from affecting his squad.
"I'm confident they can bury that. It can be as disruptive as you let it be," Tongue said.
"This happens quite regularly, not just at the Raiders but at all football clubs. It's one of the challenges as a game we face now. We have to have a look at the way the situations are handled.
"We've almost become used to it to a certain degree, players chop and change and there is always something going on in the background. It's just a matter now of getting out there and making the most of it.
"The loss of Corey Horsburgh, that's going to be as big of a challenge as the Bateman stuff too. They've got plenty happening, there's a couple of positional changes too. There's a lot to think about going into the game.
"Bringing Joe Tapine back in is a fair replacement. It's a great position for him, being in the middle there.
"The Dragons are going to put up a fair challenge. They didn't have the start to the season they would have wanted, but they're certainly starting to get some consistency."
Tongue will be one of the few people on hand at Canberra Stadium come Friday night, taking his place in a commentary box while 1500 fans filter into the eastern stand.
A return to the capital is a major boost for the Raiders, who have struggled to find cohesion in attack in recent weeks amid outside concern their travel schedule has taken its toll.
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"Doing it back to back, there is a bit of a drain there," Tongue said.
"I think they'll really be looking forward to getting back home and having less time on the road. Driving back after games, it is tiring, so I think they will be revelling in getting back to Canberra Stadium.
"It all helps. We've got such passionate supporters, even though there might not be many there in the stands, they'll really spur them on and get involved.
"Even just playing in familiar surroundings, you get a love of your home ground and there is some familiarity to it all. That'll hold them in really good stead."
NRL ROUND EIGHT
Friday: Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium, 6pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Michael Oldfield, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Sia Soliola, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joe Tapine. Interchange: 14. Curtis Scott, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Ryan Sutton, 17. Siliva Havili. Reserves: 18. Tom Starling, 19. Dunamis Lui, 20. Matt Frawley, 21. Kai O'Donnell.
Dragons squad: 1. Matthew Dufty, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Adam Clune, 8. Blake Lawrie, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Tyrell Fuimaono, 13. Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Josh Kerr, 16. Korbin Sims, 17. Jackson Ford. Reserves: 18. Eddie Blacker, 19. Tristan Sailor, 20. Billy Brittain, 21. Tim Lafai.