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Raiders coach Ricky Stuart's referees rant attracts NRL's attention

Ricky Stuart will learn his fate on Tuesday after an explosive press conference on Sunday.

Ricky Stuart will learn his fate on Tuesday after an explosive press conference on Sunday. Photo: Melissa Adams

The NRL will sift through Ricky Stuart's explosive referee tirade with a fine-tooth comb before determining if the Canberra Raiders coach will be hit in the hip pocket.

But former Raiders captain Alan Tongue believes Stuart's comments didn't cross the line and shouldn't result in him being stung with a substantial fine.

Stuart let fire with both barrels in a fiery aftermath to Sunday's controversial 26-20 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium, describing the officiating as “s---”, “laughable”, “poor” and “not at the standard of first grade”.

The Raiders have another reason to be annoyed after Panthers hooker James Segeyaro was cleared by the NRL's match review committee for a forearm to prop David Shillington.

The incident stopped Raiders lock Shaun Fensom from scoring a try in a heated match which featured expletive language from both sides on the field to be broadcast on the television and radio coverage across the country.

An NRL spokesman said all of Stuart's comments would be taken into account before deciding if he had breached the relevant guidelines.

''The NRL is going to review the transcript of Ricky’s press conference and make a decision on whether any action needs to be taken,'' the spokesman said. ''A decision is likely tomorrow.''

The match review committee found on Monday that Segeyaro had no case to answer for his contact with Shillington, believing a penalty against the Panthers hooker was sufficient punishment.

Shillington was initially penalised for reacting to Segeyaro as Fensom was about to score.

But the decision was overturned after the video referee examined footage of Segeyaro making contact with Shillington and the Papua New Guinea international was placed on report.

Stuart was critical of several decisions from referee Gavin Badger and his assistant Grant Atkins, including the Fensom no-try and Jarrod Croker being penalised twice for tackling Panthers winger David Simmons in the air while contesting a bomb.

"I've been involved in some clangers in my career and I'll have critics lining up to say I'm a whinger, but that takes the cake today,'' Stuart said.

"The referees today were not at the standard of first-grade referees.

“Our most important spectator at this game today was (referees’ boss Tony) Archer.

“He’s seen it first-hand so he doesn’t need to go back and review it.”

Stuart was fined a total of $25,000 for two incidents of criticising referees when he was coaching Parramatta last season.

Coaches are allowed to voice their opinion on the performance of the officials, but cannot question their integrity.

Tongue, who was broadcasting the Raiders' game for ABC radio, didn't believe Stuart had crossed the line.

"I don't think he should be fined – Ricky didn't have any personal shots at the referees,'' Tongue said.

"He was pretty much justified with his comments and had to stand up for his players.

"With that said, those decisions didn't cost the Raiders the game and they'll know it was their mistakes and the dropped balls which were the difference.''

Another unsightly incident from the match was the array of "f---'' and ''c---'' bombs which were audible through the referee's microphones during the Fox Sports telecast.

"The NRL will sit down and discuss the situation with Fox Sports, but ultimately, as the broadcaster, it's their decision,'' the NRL spokesman said.

It's understood Fox Sports, while unhappy that those comments got through, is comfortable that it was an isolated incident and it doesn't happen in the majority of games.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are waiting to hear back from the management of Storm back-rower Kevin Proctor for a decision on his future. Proctor's manager Chris Orr is in England. The Kiwi forward is expected to decide between the Storm, Raiders and St George Illawarra Dragons this week.

7 comments so far

  • I heard Stuart's rant, “s---”, “laughable”, “poor”,“not at the standard of first grade”. At first I fully supported his comments. Then I realised he was talking about the refs, and not himself.

    The Dog
    Date and time
    May 20, 2014, 9:31AM
    • for sure, Ricky is very good at projecting the fans opinions about him on the refs.

      Date and time
      May 21, 2014, 11:54AM
  • Stuart should never have been appointed as coach in the first place - the Raiders Board comprising a consortium of risk takers have simply made the wrong decision and Ricky, the players and Canberra are paying for it.

    Ricky was a great player in his days on the field and I as we'll as a number of other people admire the man immensely for his work in the disability space.

    But if Ricky continues the way he is going the goodwill he has earned will erode away. We don't want to see that occurring.

    This dummy spit Ricky has displayed could have been handled more diplomatically than it has and has now resulted in unwanted attention.

    Date and time
    May 20, 2014, 11:39AM
    • Here is your chance NRL to rub this behaviour out for good....
      You need to go heavier than the mandatory $10k fine.
      If you want your referees to have respect from all....back them up!

      Dr Gallop
      Bondi Kebab Shop Inc.
      Date and time
      May 20, 2014, 11:44AM
      • Typical Ricky rant should not surprise anybody. What is a never ending source of surprise is how this man enjoys the coaching reputation he enjoys. One premiership with Easts when he should have won three. Every time things don't go the way he wants he grabs his bat and ball and goes home. Two wooden spoons in succession. Has any other coach scaled those depths? With genuine apologies to Raiders supporters a trifecta of spoons for Ricky The Wondercoach would give this Roosters fan more than a little satisfaction. Don't listen to Ricky. Look at his coaching record!

        tabloid tightarse
        Date and time
        May 20, 2014, 2:08PM
        • The problem with ranting is that every one you do has slightly less impact than the one before.

          Joe the expat
          The Hague.
          Date and time
          May 21, 2014, 4:36AM
          • Ricky is our best chance of winning Origin. Appoint him Queensland coach

            Date and time
            May 21, 2014, 6:50PM

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