NRL 2 years ago

Stuart slams rep league 4-day turnaround

  • Stuart slams rep league 4-day turnaround

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Raiders coach Ricy Stuart watches from the sideline during the round seven NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at GIO Stadium on April 17, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

Ricky Stuart has called on the NRL to allow 12 interchanges for Canberra's round 10 Thursday night match that follows the City-Country Origin fixture.

Stuart said it was ridiculous the Raiders and St George Illawarra were being forced to back up just four days after the representative fixture on Sunday week.

The Raiders have several players likely to earn selection for either City or Country - including the likes of Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Paul Vaughan, Shannon Boyd and injured five-eighth Blake Austin.

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"It's ridiculous that we've got to play Thursday night after a Sunday game, where I've got representative players available and eligible for three or four games," Stuart said on Thursday.

"I want them to push it out to 12 interchange and I've spoken to the Rugby League Players Association about extending the bench.

"It's very unfortunate that this has occurred but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

"I'd like a change because it's unfair."

Teams are only allowed eight interchanges this season, down from 10 in seasons past.

Asked if he'd like selectors to keep faith with Austin, who played for City last year but has been sidelined for the past two weeks with a hamstring injury, Stuart replied: "no, not really."

"It's got nothing to do with representative football," he added.

"I'm very enthusiastic about representative football, I want all my players to have the opportunity to be representative players.

"But we talk about player welfare and nothing ever happens."

Stuart confirmed Austin won't be travelling to Bathurst for Saturday's match against Penrith.

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