NRL team the Canberra Raiders on the Sunshine Coast training for the 2020 NRL season. Josh Papalii. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
NRL team the Canberra Raiders on the Sunshine Coast training for the 2020 NRL season. Josh Papalii. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Raiders to be put through paces

RUGBY LEAGUE: Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says he is intent on making the most of the club's unexpected visit to the Sunshine Coast with some intense training planned for his charges.

The 2019 grand finalists relocated to the region this week to escape poor air quality caused by bushfire smoke in the nation's capital.

With fresh air now filling their lungs at Sunshine Coast Stadium, the Raiders are to be pushed to the limit, especially newcomers and younger talent.

"Now we've got a climate we can run in and that's not a hazard to our players we certainly want to put a lot of load into their legs and we need to get a lot of football done because we've got some new players," Stuart said.

"We've got some young players here, we've got Curtis Scott, Matt Frawley in the halves and also George Williams who is also a half.

"Those guys need to get a lot of education in content in regards to our football.

"It's very important from a defence and attack point of view that we all understand the same disciplines and rhythm and is something that we will put a lot of work in over the next 10 days."

Having a full team on deck, complete with returning internationals, is to aid plans for a full-on camp.

"This is our first real session that we've had with everybody on deck with all our internationals now back and it's a good opportunity to put as much content in as we can," he said

While they've shifted north, Stuart said his thoughts remained with those impacted by the bushfires.

"Today and tomorrow is a predicted two very dangerous days and I hope that we have a little bit of luck on our side in Canberra and in our region with all these bushfires and that the winds are kind to us," he said.

"We are thinking of all those volunteers, all our firefighters and all those who are putting in so much work at the moment to make sure people are safe."

He said some of the club's U16-U20 talent, who were in a training camp in Canberra, lived on the fire-ravaged NSW south coast, with staff also feeling the impact of the disaster.

"We've had some friends of staff that have had some very difficult times and we've been involved with those people over the last three or four days personally and it's devastating and is something that has really hit the region with great velocity and such ferociousness," he said.

The Canberra Raiders' open training session on Friday will support bushfire relief with fans encouraged to donate.

The training session will run from 10am to noon at Sunshine Coast Stadium with players available post-training for autographs and to meet fans.


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