SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Raiders Coach, Ricky Stuart speaks during the NRL Grand Final Press Conference at the Westin Hotel on October 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Thursday night's horror result confirmed what we have all known for weeks now - that the 2021 Canberra Raiders aren't up to finals footy.

Despite a stacked roster and a coach with premiership success, the former Green Machine's only involvement in the finals will be as distant spectators.

I wrote previously that the Raiders were 2021s underachievers and an overwhelming amount of readers agreed. Nothing short of a comfortable finals finish could match expectations.

One could argue that given their all-star spine, ridiculous forward stocks and a host of young, emerging superstars across the backline, that this side should have lodged a genuine title tilt.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06: Jack Wighton of the Raiders celebrates scoring a try during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Instead, they spent this past weekend planning their mad Monday celebrations.

Fans have taken to social media to demand answers. For good reason too.

Even if they had beaten the Roosters on Thursday night, their season would still come down to results elsewhere. Even if those went their way, they'd be fodder for Week 1.

Simply put, 2021 is not good enough for a side that promised so much.

The horror run of results and ultimately early season finish has many outside the club joining disappointed fans in asking: "What gives?"

It certainly poses the big question - is it time for change in the capital? Do the Raiders need to freshen up their approach to return to the promised land?

The obvious answer is yes.

Starting with Stuart, he must shoulder a huge amount of the blame.

As someone who has met the premiership-winning coach on multiple occasions, coupled with the incredible charity work he does, I'm loathe to frame Stuart in a negative light.

That said, he certainly does have a reputation of having only one gear - to get angry and yell his team to success.

I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek but his recent run of press conference performances showed a man under stress. Perhaps a man struggling to find answers.

Rugby League Outlaws run the rule over the finals series and much more

The roster absolutely requires an overhaul but there are serious questions as to whether Stuart is the man capable of overseeing such.

The late injury to Sebastian Kris didn't help matters, with Semi Valemei coming into the side and proceeded to make five handling errors, while his defence gifted the Roosters a series of tries.

It would be ridiculous to place blame for a 40-16 loss on a rookie winger but the late switch was not a good one.

Unless there's an injury to Kris I simply don't see the point of switching a centre out for a fringe first grader, at the expense of seeing Rapana shifted from his preferred position.

Josh Papalii also played just 46 minutes while Joseph Tapine played just 41. With all due respect to the rest of the Raiders middles, they are by far and away Canberra's best.

Both are capable of much bigger minutes, and impact. Again, unless there's an injury or two we weren't privy too, this looks like a huge error.

In terms of changes, one has become very obvious... Unfortunately.

Former superstar centre Jarrod Croker simply isn't up to standard anymore.

He's had a magical NRL career. With almost 300 games of top grade footy to his name can certainly slot in somewhere but he's not a first-choice centre right now.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Jarrod Croker of the Raiders looks on during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Sam Williams is not a marquee halfback. The Raiders halves plans were thrown into disarray when George Williams left the club.

Williams of the Sam variety has always been better than New South Wales Cup standard, however is not the answer moving forward.

Jack Wighton looked an absolute shadow of his 2020 Dally M form.

It would be ludicrous to suggest his time is over but he simply wasn't able to take more playmaking responsibilities on.

He needs a rest and to move back to his original role, beside a ballplaying half who can control the game.

Josh Hodgson has been linked away from the club. Tom Starling looked far more dangerous in the hooker role. With Siliva Havili moving on, the makeup of the role will be far different moving forward.

There are a host of possible changes likely for the 2022 Raiders. More will become clear as the offseason develops but one thing is for sure... there will be changes.

Given the results and state of the club right now, I dare say they're very much required.