Canberra Raiders player Joe Tapine's wife Kirsten has taken an extraordinary swipe at head coach Ricky Stuart on Instagram in the wake of the team's latest NRL loss.
The Raiders dropped to 3-5 for the season after their loss to South Sydney on Thursday, a loss which prompted a furious Stuart tirade about the lopsided penalty count.
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It was Canberra's fourth loss on the trot, and if Kirsten's post on Instagram is anything to go by, Stuart's recent bid to find form by shuffling players in and out of the side has ruffled a few feathers behind the scenes.
Stuart himself admitted to bungling interchanges against Parramatta a fortnight ago, and again seemed to make a series of puzzling decisions with his interchange against the Rabbitohs.
Tapine returned to the bench after being dropped the week before, but played just 33 minutes after coming on at the 25-minute mark before soon returning to the bench.
He played the final eight minutes as Canberra attempted to stage a comeback, but it was too little, too late.
Sia Soliola played just nine minutes for the entire match, while Ryan James was pulled after starting the game and playing just 23 minutes.
Kirsten Tapine hinted that the odd interchange patterns were causing problems when she took to her Instagram story before the weekend.
“You have an international player warming your bench for 50 minutes … Your interchanges are killing us!!!" she captioned her story.
“Refs call count means jak (sic) when coaches are (rubbish bin emoji).”
The Raiders are battling injuries to key players, with the likes of Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson not fully fit.
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The Raiders were neck-and-neck with the Rabbitohs until they fell 34-20 in a nail-biting match finish in Canberra.
But a lopsided 8-1 penalty count against Canberra and Jack Wighton being called back for two tries ultimately cost the Raiders.
The calls in the last 10 minutes proved decisive, as Souths kicked a late penalty goal to go 14 clear despite finishing the game with a man in the sin-bin.
This prompted Stuart to claim he would speak to referee boss Jared Maxwell over his team's heavy penalty count this season.
“I will but this has been happening a lot this year to us,” a clearly frustrated Stuart said.
“I look like the whinger, which I don’t really give a sh*t about being labelled the whinger.
“But when you get a game out there where it’s eight to one in penalties, I just think that probably needs a discussion.”
Stuart also hit out at the obstruction rule and claimed common sense had gone out the window in deciding these rulings.
The first involved Benji Marshall as he was first ruled to be obstructed when Emre Guler stopped in the line.
The second involved Wighton pinged for running behind Corey Harawira-Naera three minutes later.
While Stuart praised Marshall's gamesmanship as "smart", he wasn't impressed with the rulings.
"There was no way in the world they were going to tackle either of those players there," Stuart said.
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