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Raiders stick with aggressive recruitment

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has vowed not to take his foot off the recruitment accelerator despite James Tedesco joining a growing list of NRL stars to spurn the club's lucrative advances.
Raiders stick with aggressive recruitment
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, June 5 AAP - Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has vowed not to take his foot off the recruitment accelerator despite James Tedesco joining a growing list of NRL stars to spurn the club's lucrative advances.

The Wests Tigers' fullback on Wednesday reneged on three-year-deal worth around $600,000 a season with the Raiders, just days before the round-13 deadline, to remain with his mates at the joint venture.

It follows the decision of Melbourne's Kevin Proctor to stay at the Storm, Josh Mansour remaining at Penrith, Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis leaning towards Cronulla, and Anthony Milford confirming he's off to Brisbane.

However, Stuart said the "disappointing recruitment results" would not alter the club's commitment to developing a successful NRL team in the future.

"We will continue to push forward with an aggressive recruitment program that's aimed at bringing deserved success to a great football club," Stuart said in a statement.

In what could be construed as a veiled parting swipe at one or more players who rejected the Raiders, Stuart said they were only after people who "shared our vision and who will have pride in our jersey".

"These disappointments have only added to our resolve to achieve our goals," he said.

Stuart said when he joined the Raiders, he identified the need to recruit players in key positions to strengthen the playing roster.

"Despite the recent disappointments of losing players whom we had identified to fulfil these roles, I want to assure, in particular, our members and fans, stakeholders and the Canberra community that we will continue to push forward," he said.

"I am fortunate to have such a strong and supportive board and management, an extremely talented and experienced coaching and high performance team and a wonderful group of players who want to be successful."

Canberra great Alan Tongue said the spate of turned down offers would hurt the club's reputation in the short term.

But he said they'd bounce back as long as they kept the faith in their juniors and remained focused on their next recruitment drive.

Tongue added the round-13 contract deadline needed to be scrapped - even though it enabled the Raiders to keep Josh Papalii last year.

"It's not a great look for the game," he said.

Fellow Canberra great Gary Belcher said it was the publicity surrounding the Mansour and Tedesco signings, triggered by an airport sighting, that most hurt the Raiders.

"There's other clubs doing the same thing without the fanfare," he said.

"By announcing (Tedesco's) signing a week out, they were trying to help attract other players, but it hasn't worked.

"That's just the nature of the beast."




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