Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has branded five-eighth Jaeman Salmon of the Panthers as a “weak dog” after kicking Tom Starling.
Despite their promise to “ambush” the incumbent premier, the Raiders never came close, with Salmon scoring one of four Panthers tries in a 26-6 win.
After his team’s defeat, which could see them miss the final, Stuart was questioned about a number of incidents during the match, including a bump that saw Joseph Tapine injured, but targeted Salmon, which was put on record. for football.
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“The tackles of James Fisher-Harris and Joe Tapine are accidents and I understand that in this collision game,” an irritated Stuart told reporters.
“But where Salmon kicked Tommy (Starling), it didn’t happen.
“I had an affair with that boy (Salmon). I know that boy very well.
“He was a weak dog as a child and he hasn’t changed now. Now he’s a weak dog.”
After Stuart’s incredible outburst, Nine’s NRL reporter Danny Weidler spoke on the phone with the Raiders coach and asked if he would apologize or retract his statement, to which he replied “a firm no”.
League great Phil Gould described Stuart’s trip as “extraordinary” and said “I’ve never heard a manager say something like this at a press conference.”
Gould said Stuart’s son had played on the same rugby league team as Salmon during his junior days as the Panthers, but wasn’t sure exactly what caused such a reaction from the veteran coach.
“When Ricky said he had known this guy for a while, he did,” Gould told Nine’s NRL coverage.
“Certainly Ricky reflecting on the fact that he is not apologizing, and that he has stayed true to what he said is quite extraordinary because I have never heard a manager say such a thing in a press conference.
“I can’t imagine anything that would make me say such a thing at a press conference.
“Ricky must have very good reasons and I don’t know how he proves it … I think Jaeman Salmon would have taken action against him for such remarks.
“I know his team has been eliminated tonight and this is probably the end of their position in the final … but he is too experienced an activist to react so emotionally in an environment like the one he has been in so many times during his career. . It’s not like that even if he’s a rookie. “
Both Gould and NSW Origin manager Brad Fittler didn’t think Salmon’s kick to Starling alone was worthy of such an aggressive response.
“This can happen to anyone at any time,” Gould said of the incident.
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“It’s not a rare occurrence. His foot was stuck between his legs as they were getting up and he was trying to get his foot out of there.”
“When I saw the crash, I was surprised that they stopped play and Jaeman Salmon was penalized. I just saw someone kick out,” added Fittler.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary refused to engage in verbal warfare with Stuart, but said he was adamant that the kick on Starling was accidental by Salmon.
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“I can’t imagine Jaeman would have done it deliberately, but I honestly haven’t seen it.
“I don’t think I have to respond to those (Stuart’s) comments. I know what Jaeman is like and he’s valuable in our club and we love him, so that’s all that matters to us.”
Whether the NRL takes action against Stuart for his outburst remains to be seen.
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