Coach Ricky Stuart has lashed out at the refereeing in Canberra’s gritty 26-14 NRL win over the Warriors, describing the contest as “disgraceful” and comparing it to rugby union. Almost one year to the day Canberra’s grand-final dream turned into a nightmare by a refereeing decision, an irate Stuart has taken square aim at the NRL officials.
The Raiders on Sunday overcame a horror opening half hour, including the sin-binning of star Jack Wighton, to claim a 12-point win over the Warriors and stay within striking distance of an all-important top-four finish.
However, just two weeks out from the finals, that failed to prevent Stuart from taking his frustrations out on the referees for what he believed was a “shocking” and “disgraceful” game of football.
“I wasn’t happy with too much. It was a shocking game of football … If we had put some lineouts in from (when) the ball went out, it would’ve been two rugby union games here in two days,” he said.
His comments come a week after the NRL rushed in changes to its bunker operations following a growing frustration with video refereeing decisions.
Stuart’s broadside also came just days after NRL touch judge Phil Henderson was axed from a fixture on the weekend for failing to spot a clear no-try call in Canterbury’s upset of South Sydney on Thursday.
Stuart was particularly seething over what he perceived as an unfair 7-1 penalty count in the first half, as well as the marching of Wighton, who was ruled offside and binned after a string of infringements.
But he is unlikely to raise his issues with Annesley this week.
“I won’t be raising any points. I’ll be doing my review. They’ll do their review, go into hiding with their results, and it’ll just be game on again next week,” Stuart said.
“I’ve been around the game long enough to know and see, where we create a foul, we create an incident, we get penalised. I understand that, I get that.
“But then when you see the opposition exactly do the same thing, I expect the penalty to be there too.”
The Raiders were on the wrong end of a controversial six-again call late in last year’s grand-final loss to the Sydney Roosters that has since haunted the club and its fanbase.
Stuart stopped short of saying history could be repeating.
“(That) Jack Wighton sin bin, would’ve that been the same decision if it was a semi-final? I hope not, because he wasn’t offside. You can’t make that error,” he said.
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