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)

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has reportedly re-signed Tom Starling, with the hooker putting pen to paper as the club's hopes of finishing in the top four are slowly diminishing.

Having featured in every game for the club last season, Starling has been a big factor for the club coming off the interchange bench in 2023. In limited minutes he has been the perfect backup for Zac Woolford and Danny Levi, the former being used as the club's primary number nine.

“I think he's been dropped this week but obviously he's been a fixture in that team for a long time now and has signed a two-year extension and will stay until the end of 2026,” Brent Read told Triple M.

The decision to re-sign Starling came days before the club delivered an embarrassing performance on the weekend, which saw them lose by 46 points to the Melbourne Storm. This saw the Raiders' hopes of claiming a double chance in the finals slowly disappear.

Sitting in sixth position on the ladder, the Raiders will need to win their next three games in a row if they are any chance of joining the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos in the top four.

The loss sees them equal with the Cronulla Sharks on 30 points, while the Knights (29), Rabbitohs (28) and Cowboys (28) remain hot on their tails. However, they will need either the Storm (32) or Warriors (34) to lose their next few games if they are a chance of entering the top four.

“It wasn't tough at all. It was just embarrassing. (I'm) absolutely embarrassed," Stuart said after the game.

“I don't think I can say much more than that to be honest. It was just a really, really embarrassing performance. We went away after 20 minutes. We weren't prepared to fight for the 80 (minutes) and they were.

“We were fighting for a top four spot today and we delivered up that crap. That's the embarrassing part about it. I'm lost for words on a lot of it.”