Canberra coach Ricky Stuart admits it was "too risky" fighting Nick Cotric's dangerous throw charge as the club home in on their second NRL finals appearance in seven years.
A fired-up Stuart initially said he would fight any charges from Cotric's spear tackle on St George Illawarra centre Tim Lafai last week, but the club accepted a three-game ban on Tuesday.
Stuart said he needed his best players available at the business end of the season and didn't want to lose NSW representative Cotric for any additional games.
"It makes it too risky when you're looking at five weeks instead of three," Stuart said.
"I thought it was quite tough in regards to the five weeks that was going to be there and if we wanted to go in and challenge it and risk an extra two weeks it was just too risky for me."
Cotric became the first player sent off in 2019 and due to his 21 minutes off the pitch he would only have missed four weeks had he fought the challenge and lost, not five as Stuart stated.
Stuart has replaced his 20-year-old centre for this week with journeyman Michael Oldfield and said the third-placed Raiders need some good fortune heading into finals.
"You talk about going into the back end of the season and you do need some luck, I've said that all along. You do need your best players available," Stuart said.
"You don't need injuries, you don't need suspensions, you need to have an ounce of luck in that area. This year it hasn't been our season for that, maybe at the end of the season, optimistically, it might turn around and we might have everybody on deck.
"But I'm very fortunate with Nick out I can bring in an experienced player."
Canberra host a Wests Tigers outfit still reeling from losing Benji Marshall's 300th NRL game last week and Stuart said the Tigers icon presented a serious danger on Saturday.
"We've spoken about the environment they're sitting in at the moment. They're a good footy team and were unlucky not to win last week," Stuart said.
"They're a very smart attacking team, they're a team that can score points and score quick points with two very smart halves and a very a smart fullback.
"Their attacking ability is something we defensively have to be on this week because if we're not they're going to make it a really hard day for us."
Australian Associated Press