Aiming to reach the grand final, the Canberra Raiders forwards believe new assistant coach Michael Maguire could lead them all the way this season.

Entering the 2023 season with the second-longest premiership drought in the NRL, the Raiders are looking to win the title for the first time since 1994.

Finishing last season in the eighth position they shocked the Melbourne Storm defeating them 28-20 in the first round of the finals series. However, their luck didn't continue in the following week losing to the Eels by 36 points.

Striving to make it further this season, Ricky Stuart has taken it upon himself to hire the services of former premiership coach Michael Maguire. Maguire's acquisition makes the Raiders the only club to include two premiership-winning coaches on their staff.

Speaking to FoxSports, three Canberra forwards spoke about the impact Maguire has had on the club since he arrived. Josh Papalii, Tom Starling and Joseph Tapine expressed their views on the newly recruited coach.

"You can tell Madge loves his footy. He's non-stop thinking about it and talking about it, it's been really good, he's been a breath of fresh air," Tom Starling said.

"He's bringing a lot of intensity and I think he's going to take our defence to the next level."

Maguire joins the Raiders after a four-year stint with the Wests Tigers, where he failed to get them into finals contention. However, earlier in his coaching career, he achieved a lot of success, which included a title in 2014 with the Rabbitohs.

Since the beginning of his coaching career, Maguire has been known for his work in the defensive structure. With the great extensive forward pack the Raiders produce, he could become one of the pick-ups of the season.

"I'd heard a lot of stories about Madge and how intense it can be… but he's just a coach who cares," Josh Papalii said.

"He's come up with a plan and a strategy to win with a comp and I think that's what's needed here. We've had plans and values that we were probably just not up to scratch, but he's definitely brought honesty."

NRL Rd 1 - Raiders v Wests Tigers
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: Joe Tapine of the Raiders in action during the round one NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium, on March 14, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Unlike Starling and Papalii, the current Dally M Prop of the Year Joseph Tapine already knew what Maguire would bring before he joined. Tapine who had a breakout season in 2022 has played under Maguire at the international level for New Zealand.

"He's very big on details, he looks at the real small details in everything we do and has that intensity to him and he won't leave any stone unturned,” Tapine said.

“Stick [Ricky Stuart] does a lot with attack and Madge on our defence side...they definitely have a presence (on the training paddock) and they work well together."

"They actually balance each other out because I suppose you can't have too much boss in the room, they're good together."