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Stuart unleashes on refs after Panthers

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is looking ripe for another whopping NRL fine after launching a scathing five minute spray at the referees who officiated his side's narrow loss to Penrith on Sunday.
Stuart unleashes on refs after Panthers
by AAP

(Eds: Warning. Language in second and ninth pars)

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, May 18 AAP - Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is looking ripe for another whopping NRL fine after launching a scathing five minute spray at the referees who officiated his side's narrow loss to Penrith on Sunday.

Stuart lined referees Gavin Badger and Grant Atkins right up in his crosshairs following the 26-20 result at Canberra Stadium, describing their performances as "shit", "poor", "laughable" and "rot".

"I've been involved in some refereeing clangers, and I'll tell you, that takes the cake," he said.

Stuart admitted he was "emotionally upset" for his players after a loss that featured several heated all-in scuffles.

One incident was sparked due to Raiders skipper Terry Campese complaining of a headbutt, and another included prop David Shillington taking exception to a forearm to the head by James Segeyaro - who was replaced on report.

Yet it wasn't the players, but the referees, who were responsible for the fracas, according to Stuart.

"The referees caused those blues," he said.

"Campo is a competitor and he's a frustrated person at the moment.

"And then he gets shit refereeing - oops, sorry - when you get poor refereeing decisions that are just incorrect, purely incorrect, that frustrates you."

Stuart singled out a decision in the 56th minute that saw a penalty blown against the Raiders as lock Shaun Fensom was in the process of scoring.

The whistle was blown after Shillington played the ball and reacted late to a Segeyaro forearm to his head.

After reviewing the decision the penalty was reversed back to the Raiders - yet the try didn't stand and the Raiders remained 10 points down.

"He got it wrong," Stuart said.

"The referees today were not at the standard of first grade referees."

Stuart also launched a passionate defence of Shillington for reacting.

"I don't know what type of character you are mate but if you get a forearm to the head ... you'd react," he said.

The press conference came to an abrupt end after five minutes - Campese barely getting a word in.

"That will do. That'll end up costing me $20,000 or $30,000," Stuart said.

"I'll be labelled a whinger, but if I don't come out and tell the truth, I'm not doing the right thing by my players."

It's not the first time Stuart has been critical of referees.

Last year he was issued with two fines totalling $25,000 whilst coaching Parramatta.

Yet the Raiders only have themselves to blame for the loss.

They were guilty of too many simple handling errors throughout the match, finishing the first half with a poor 61 per cent completion rate.

Following two horrific performances against Manly and the Warriors, the Raiders got off to the best possible start with a try to Reece Robinson on the second tackle of the match.

However their leaky defence came straight back to the fore, the Panthers replying with three tries to David Simmons, Josh Mansour and Matthew Moylan.

It looked as though the Raiders might be on their way to a third consecutive 50 point-plus thumping, but they dug in this time around.

Robinson scored his second and then Jarrod Croker got on the board to take a narrow 16-14 lead into the break.

However second half tries to Segeyaro and Simmons would prove too much for the Raiders to chase down.


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