Why Ricky Stuart needs time out of NRL after shocking outburst

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Pictured here, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart looks on during a Raiders game in the NRL
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart could be in trouble after comments he made about Panthers playmaker Jaeman Salmon. Pic: Getty

OPINION

It's time for Ricky Stuart to take a rest from rugby league.

The biggest question is will it be of his volition, at the hand of his club, or will the NRL come over the top of all of them and decide strong action is necessary?

Stuart's "weak-gutted dog" crack at Penrith's Jaeman Salmon was an astonishing as it was appalling.

It's indefensible, no matter the background to the story.

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We all know Stuart is a passionate coach and wears his heart on his sleeve, but there is a massive anger management issue at play here that needs addressing.

He simply cannot control his emotions in the heat of the moment, especially after a defeat.

These latest comments cannot go unpunished and another fine simply won’t cut it.

Time out of the game – either voluntarily or involuntarily – is imperative if Stuart is to get in the right head space to coach again.

Even two of the more moderate voices on the rage machine that is Fox League – Corey Parker and Cooper Cronk – were firm in their condemnation.

"Ricky Stuart has been a coach for 20 years and it’s absolutely disgraceful to publicly humiliate a player in the way that he's done," Parker said.

"The words that he used in relation to Salmon are completely out of line."

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Cronk is of the belief the comments stray into workplace bullying territory.

"Ricky's one of the greatest players of our game and I'm not sure what the history is (with Salmon), but young Salmon has played 40 games or something," he said.

"The balance of power is out of whack. I just don't like the fact that an opposite coach has publicly and personally had a crack at a player."

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was fuming with Penrith's Jaeman Salmon for kicking out at Tom Starling after a tackle. Pic: NRL/Fox Sports
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was fuming with Penrith's Jaeman Salmon for kicking out at Tom Starling after a tackle. Pic: NRL/Fox Sports

The NRL Integrity unit is already on the case, with CEO Andrew Abbo labelling Stuart's comments as "disappointing and very serious".

Further details about Stuart's relationship with Salmon and the background to their one-sided feud will emerge as the days roll on, but the bad blood started in junior football a decade or so ago when Salmon and Stuart's son were in the same system.

Ricky has neither forgiven or forgotten what was said or done all those years ago, but he used the wrong platform to go after Salmon.

The repercussions have to be heavy.

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