Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart's Attitude Shocked Everybody After NRL Grand Final
Everyone was expecting famously fiery coach Ricky Stuart to blow up. Everyone.
After the Sydney Roosters beat the Canberra Raiders 14-8 in the NRL Grand Final -- thanks in part to a momentum-changing and completely mystifying ref's call against the Raiders -- people were grabbing the biggest bag of popcorn imaginable waiting for one of the Raiders coach's famous eruptions.
It never came.
Stuart fronted the post-match press conference with captain Jarrod Croker and Clive Churchill medallist Jack Wighton, and made it clear from the very first question that he wasn't in the mood for controversy.
"You all saw it. None of us here will be commenting on that," he said in response to the first question, which as expected, was about the "six again" incident when the Raiders appeared to have six more plays with the ball before the decision was reversed.
"Tonight is not the time to talk about it. The Roosters achieved something special tonight wining two grand finals in a row. I don’t want to take the spotlight off that," he said.
"Instead of me tomorrow saying what I think and then getting abused for speaking in an unsportsmanlike manner, you write what you think," he then said to a journalist.
The journalist said he'd write that they got it wrong.
"OK, then write it," Stuart said.
Stuart said he walked onto the field straight after the game and congratulated the four officials.
"No one goes out there to make a mistake. They've got tough jobs," he said.
"It was a really good game of football tonight. We could've won it. It's a very empty feeling losing a grand final.
"It was there to win for us, wasn’t it. The plan we had was working, we were coming home real strong. We lost a bit of momentum there on a couple of scenarios."
Everybody in the room knew what the so-called "scenarios" were. But Ricky wouldn't say more. And that was that.
Stuart did say he declined the opportunity to speak to NRL head of football and former referee Graham Annesley.
Annesley himself later explained that he'd watched four different camera angles of the incident, and that ref Ben Cummins did indeed call "six again". But he then got a quick call that the ball had come off a Raiders player, not a Roosters player, and then called “last tackle” four more times.
Meanwhile, Stuart at least got one grumpy answer in. It wasn't his full fury, but it was salty enough, and it came when a reporter asked him what he said to his players to lift their spirits after the heartbreaking loss.
"I’m not a miracle worker, mate. You can't say anything to lift people's spirits after grand final defeat."
And although he didn't exactly blow up, you really didn't want to be the person who asked that question, because if a bloke ever rolled his eyes without rolling his eyes, Ricky Stuart did it in that moment.