Ricky Stuart could be facing a fine from NRL headquarters after he was caught swearing at a cameraman before blowing up in his press conference on Saturday night. The Raiders coach couldn't contain his anger after his side were on the receiving end of a highly contentious call that helped the Broncos to a 29-18 victory.
With Brisbane leading 24-18 late in the game, the Raiders thought they'd gained possession in golden field position after Selwyn Cobbo batted the ball straight to a Raiders player from a short drop-out. However referee Adam Gee ruled that Cobbo had been impeded by an 'escort' from Hudson Young and awarded the Broncos a penalty.
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The Raiders challenged the decision, but the Bunker also agreed that Cobbo had been unfairly taken out. However replays showed that Young had only made the tiniest incidental contact with Cobbo, who still had a completely unimpeded shot at the ball.
"This one was so soft, and look, every team trains for it, every team runs attacking plays off the ball," Andrew Johns said on Channel 9. "Penalise the obvious ones, (like) if they knock them over or they put an arm out. Look, he doesn't stop Selwyn from competing for the ball. This isn't a penalty. It's just nit-picking.
"Stay out of the game, Bunker. Please, stay out of the game. Bunker comes in for try-scoring opportunities - that's it. They cannot be coming in on the game all the time."
The penalty allowed the Broncos to march down the other end and kick a field goal to make the score 25-18, before a late Reece Walsh try added insult to injury for the Raiders. Amidst the controversy, Stuart was seen telling a cameraman to "f*** off" as he paced up and down the sideline in frustration.
— Martin Gabor (@MartinJGabor) August 26, 2023
Ricky Stuart lashes out after Raiders' loss to Broncos
Stuart also unloaded in his post-match press conference, taking exception to the call on Young and Jordan Rapana's costly sin-binning earlier in the second half. The coach, who initially tried to bite his tongue, suggested decisions went against his side "for 80 minutes".
"Why do you reckon little old ladies are sitting up on the chairs going off their heads?" he asked. "When the little old ladies have gone off their heads, you've had a bad day.
"I can't do nothing, you've just got to cop it. (Referees boss) Jarrod Maxwell is a very good operator … I reckon power has been taken off Jarrod in a number of areas because they're not improving. It happens every game on these escorts, (but) I just don't understand why it's been us … well I do understand, but that's probably the bit I can't talk about."
NRL world in uproar over 'horrendous' decision
The loss means the Raiders could miss the finals if they don't beat Cronulla in the final round and other results go against them. Stuart was less than impressed when asked how his team could put the loss behind them.
"Don't ask me questions I can't answer," he said. "I get brought in here, I've got the NRL ringing up, the media manager saying 'why isn't he in his press conference?' The reason I'm not coming into this press conference earlier and why I'm keeping you poor people waiting is because I'm pissed off because people aren't doing their jobs properly."
Phil Gould was also fuming over the decision to penalise Young, saying on Channel 9: " Do you think that if they didn't act on that, do you think at the end of the game there would have been anyone complaining about the escort on Cobbo where Canberra got the ball back? Definitely not. No one would."
Fans and commentators were also up in arms on social media. The Cobbo-Young call was labelled 'horrendous' and 'rubbish'.
That call is
— BUZZ ROTHFIELD (@BuzzRothfield) August 26, 2023
That’s the worst decision I think I’ve ever seen🤣🤣🤣 Raiders/Panthers should be seething!! #NRLRaidersBroncos
— CameronHarris (@CammyHarris_) August 26, 2023
Another horrendous call from the video ref to back up the bad call from the touchie #nrlraidersbroncos
— Raidercast (@RaidercastNRL) August 26, 2023
What a disgraceful decision. The bunker needs to go. #NRLRaidersBroncos
— Ahmad Daizli (@adaizli11) August 26, 2023
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