Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Refs Have to Stay Strong

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Refs Have to Stay Strong

Article excerpt

LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

TONY DURKIN

NO FAIR dinkum supporter of our game would question Ricky StuartCOs passion for rugby league. And as a coach he has achieved success, including an NRL premiership at his first attempt.

But if his expletive-filled outburst last weekend indicates his state of mind, it might be time Ricky found another job. If that tirade is a sign of the pressure he is feeling as coach of the hapless Eels, then nothing has changed in the five years since he stood down as Australian coach after the Centenary World Cup.

The Kangaroos were red-hot favourites to win the historic event in Brisbane but were hijacked by New Zealand in the final. The next morning, in the foyer of the team hotel, Stuart accosted referee Ashley Klein, calling him a cheat. He was fined $20,000, and subsequently resigned.

Stuart later apologised, admitting he had made one of the biggest mistakes of his career. And he has again apologised after this latest outbust, but for his foul language, not his attack on the referees.

Stuart had grounds to complain about the 8-1 second-half penalty count last Sunday. Often one team is penalised more than another, even though both commit similar offences. But most coaches will concede C[pounds sterling]what comes round goes roundC[yen].

The bottom line is the Eels should not have lost. Ten minutes into the second half they led 22-8, and it wasnCOt the referees who let a bomb bounce for Albert Kelly to regather and score; the referees didnCOt leave the gap back on the inside for Mark Minichiello to stroll through; and it wasnCOt their poor defence that allowed Ashley Harrison to barge over from a few metres out.

But Stuart didnCOt suddenly combust on Sunday night. His rant was no doubt carefully considered, and had a hidden agenda.

CCOmon Aussie

I AM a sports nut. I will watch most high-profile sporting events that involve an Aussie. …

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