Canberra have been boosted by news rising winger Jordan Rapana may miss just one week of NRL action after injuring his cheekbone.
It was initially feared the 25-year-old had suffered a depressed fracture in last week’s upset of South Sydney and would be sidelined for up to two months.
However specialist scans on Wednesday revealed Rapana could be back as soon as round 10.
Stuart defended accusations Rapana had feigned injury to gain a penalty against the Rabbitohs, recalling how he also played on with a fractured skull late last season.
“I was on the sideline and I saw the whack,” he said.
“It was 20 metres from me and it was a big collision. So it’s all nice to sitting in the coach’s box or sitting in the stands, saying `Get up. There’s nothing wrong with you.’
“The amount of criticism that was aimed at Jordan is unfair.
“He also got another whack later on in the game and finished the game off with a busted eardrum.”
Out-of-favour prop David Shillington should also be available for selection in Saturday week’s clash against the Gold Coast Titans after recovering from a broken thumb suffered in a NSW Cup match last month.
The former Test front-rower was overlooked by Stuart for the first two rounds of the season.