Canberra Raiders NRL coach Ricky Stuart launches epic spray at Penrith Panthers player Jaeman Salmon
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has launched a devastating spray at Panthers five-eighth Jaeman Salmon after he kicked Tom Starling in the groin during Canberra’s 26-6 defeat on Saturday night.
In one of the most extraordinary press conferences in recent history, Stuart labeled the Panther a “weak gutted dog,” which received a scathing condemnation from NRL legends that turned commentators Phil Gould, Brad Fittler, Cooper Cronk and Corey Parker.
The kick in question happened in the 60th minute of the game, with Salmon’s foot making contact with Starling’s groin as the first tried to get up after being tackled.
An enraged Stuart, who was no doubt also emotional over the side’s disappointing loss that might see them out of the final, couldn’t contain his anger after the hateful match.
Jaeman Salmon’s (invisible, lying on the ground) boot makes contact with Raiders whore Tom Startling (number 14) groin as Salmon tries to get up from a tackle
“Where Salmon kicked Tommy (Starling), it’s not on. I had a past with that child (Salmon). I know that boy very well,” Stuart said at the post-match press conference.
“As a kid he was a weak dog and he hasn’t changed now. He’s a weakly stripped dog person now.’
The amazing spray shocked Gould, who admitted he “can’t think of anything that would make me say such a thing.”
“Of course, on reflection, Ricky saying that he’s not apologizing and sticking with what he said is quite extraordinary because I’ve never heard a coach say anything like that at a press conference,” he said.
Ricky Stuart shocked the media when he called Jaeman Salmon a “weak, stripped dog” during the post-match press conference.
Aside from the explosive comments, Gould didn’t believe that Salmon’s kick was an intentional act, and something that can happen when a player tries to get up after being tackled.
‘That is not an uncommon phenomenon. His foot was caught between his legs as they got up and he was trying to get his foot out of there,” Gould said.
“When I saw the incident, I was surprised that they stopped the game and Jaeman Salmon was penalized. I just saw someone kick out,” added fellow commentator Fittler.
Jaeman Salmon (ball in hand) stretches to score a try in Penrith’s win over Canberra on Saturday night
Gould also confirmed that Stuart did indeed have a long history with Salmon.
Salmon played on the same junior team as Stuart’s son when he coached the Sharks from 2007 – 2010.
Regardless of whether the kick was intentional or not – although all four commentators believed it was not – Stuart’s comments were widely condemned.
On Fox League’s post-game coverage, Parker was scathing about Stuart’s spray.
“I can’t think of an incident like that in my time where a coach went after a player or said anything about a player,” Parker said.
“Ricky Stuart has been coaching in the game for 20 years… absolutely outrageous comments.”
Ricky Stuart looks on during Canberra’s disappointing 20 point loss to Penrith
Cronk was a little more cautious, but he agreed with the sentiment that Stuart shouldn’t have called Salmon out.
“The other part of this is also that Ricky is one of the best players of our game and I’m not sure what the history is. I have no idea. But Salmon has played 40 first-grade games,” he said during the Fox League coverage.
‘The balance of power is a bit out of hand there. I think he could have kept his emotions in check and played it in a different way.
“But I just don’t like an opponent’s coach having a crack in another player in public and in person,” Cronk said.
Penrith Panthers five-eighth Jaeman Salmon, who also played for the Eels and junior footy for the Sharks, is back in the spotlight.
Stuart has declined to apologize for the comment, telling Channel 9 journalist Danny Weidler that “he is not holding back,” according to a tweet from the veteran writer.
Reports have also been published in the Sydney Morning Herald that Salmon would seek legal advice across the board, and wanted to speak out – but was warned against it by the Panthers.
The incident is just another chapter in the heated rivalry that has been simmering between the two clubs since Penrith star Jarome slammed Luai Raiders high up in a 2019 melee.