NRL 2020: Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart downplays NZ Warriors' sacrifices

Following their win over NZ Warriors, Canberra Raiders players heaped praise on their NRL rivals for staying in Australia to keep the competition running during coronavirus. 

But not everyone in the team was sympathetic. 

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart dampened the mood somewhat, insisting the players were simply doing their job. 

The Warriors have been the talk of Australian sports for their sacrifice, after opting to stay in Australia to finish the season, which means being away from family and loved ones indefinitely. 

Due to the border restrictions in Australia and New Zealand, the Warriors' non-Kiwi squad members can't return to Auckland, while players' families can't come across to Australia, where the team will be based for the foreseeable future. 

"That's our job," Stuart said, after his side's 20-6 win. 

"Don't get me wrong, I applaud the Warriors for their decision. I know [the NRL] will do everything in their power to make it as comfortable as they can for the boys.

"It's very tough for them, but they are getting paid very good money and the clubs are all getting paid very good money.

"We are very fortunate to be able to wake up every morning and do something we absolutely love, so some days we have to go through tough times."

The way the COVID-19 pandemic is going around the world, Stuart said he wouldn't be surprised if all other 15 teams are doing what the Warriors are doing. 

"They might be the leaders in regards to how to handle a situation, where they've got to bunker down in hotels, because who's saying that we're not all going to be in hotels over the next month?

"Some days, we've got to go through tough times and it might get to a stage where it's not only the Warriors, so they might be the benchmark in regards to how to handle this."

Josh Hodgson talks to Warriors players after their NRL match.
Josh Hodgson talks to Warriors players after their NRL match. Photo credit: Photosport

While Stuart was pragmatic about the situation, Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson called the players together to express his team's appreciation for what the Warriors had done.

"We just mentioned, if there's anything, we're happy to help out," said fellow Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker.

"I know we're on the other side of the country, but we might be able to help out somewhere. That was pretty much our message to the Warriors boys.

"I'm sure the whole country appreciates what they're doing."

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said his team appreciated the support. 

"They just said thanks for staying back and keeping this game going," he told Fox Sports. 

"A lot of the rugby league community are thanking us for it, but we still love this game and we're still doing it for our families. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the two points today."

Join us for live updates of the Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles clash at 8pm Friday