Ricky Stuart will refuse to make any excuses for his gallant Raiders after Friday's 30-10 preliminary final loss - but we're going to toss a few out here. How about week after week of same-day travel up and down the eastern seaboard, culminating in a trip to Brisbane where the Queensland government refused to accommodate their request to prepare in a hotel. Or a horrendous injury toll, which claimed key man Josh Hodgson midway through the year, plus Emre Guler, Corey Horsburgh, Bailey Simonsson and Curtis Scott to name a handful. Melbourne had a two-week break heading into their sixth-straight preliminary final. Last Friday they watched on as the Raiders went toe to toe in a bruising affair against the Roosters.