There are calls for Canberra coach Ricky Stuart to be stood down for the rest of the season with the NRL reportedly conceding fines are “not really working for those serial offenders”.
NRL officials will meet on Monday to decide on a sanction for Stuart after he called Panthers young gun Jaeman Salmon “a weak-gutted dog” in his post-match press conference on Saturday.
Stuart apologised for the outburst on Sunday, while the Salmon family have called on the NRL to act.
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The NRL are considering slapping Stuart with a ban, with journalist Dave Riccio revealing they have conceded fines aren’t working for serial offenders.
“The NRL they will meet today, there is a commission meeting,” Riccio said on SEN.
“This item was never on the agenda however it will be discussed today, the NRL will determine what sanction they hand down to Ricky Stuart.
“This is an interesting one as there’s been plenty of discussion and consideration from the NRL to suspend Ricky Stuart for a match or more.
“I can tell you this is a path the NRL have been looking at going down for coaches who have serial fines against them for comments made post-match.
“The fines system argued by the NRL saying it’s not really working for those serial offenders.
“I’m saying this because earlier this year there was a coach that I spoke to the NRL about where another indiscretion could lead to (a suspension).
“We’ve only really seen the EPL guys overseas where a coach is removed from the coaches box or removed from a game going forward.
“This has been on the NRL’s mind, and I dare say if this does go down this path for Ricky Stuart in suspending him for this week’s match, it could become the norm.”
Stuart has been widely criticised and Andrew Voss believes the Raiders should beat the NRL to it and “take a stand” by suspending their coach for the remainder of 2022.
“Can I say for the record, because we do have to take a stand – I believe Ricky Stuart should be suspended for the rest of the year,” Voss said on SEN.
“I think the Raiders should stand him down and say, ‘Ricky, it’s been a long year, I cannot excuse what happened, you can have the rest of the season off’.
“You’ve got to take a stand. It can’t be a fine for this sort of behaviour. It cannot be a fine.
“There may be a fine with it, but it’s got to be something else.”
Panthers great Mark Geyer, meanwhile, said the NRL had to send a message.
“They’re pretty harsh words,” Geyer on Triple M.
“This is unprecedented for mine, I have never seen a press conference like that and there’s a reason we don’t see it, because you’re not allowed to say what he said, quite simply.
“I don’t get Ricky Stuart’s side. I really don’t. He’s a 55-year-old male who’s coached 500 games, he’s been in the game so long, and if that was his son, how would he feel if someone said that about his son?
“The NRL have no option. I’m afraid they have no option, there is a precedent that needs to be set. If a coach or player goes out next weekend, I want them deterred from saying something so bad about a person.
“It’s not because I’m a Penrith ex-player, if this was anyone … people saying I’m biased, I’m not biased, I’m just putting myself in the situation of the Salmon family. If that was my son I’d be filthy. I’d be knocking on his door the next day.
“I think he’s got to be suspended, for the first time ever in NRL history, a coach has to be suspended for his after-match comments about a player.”
Greg Alexander and Cooper Cronk were left equally bewildered when discussing the incident on Fox League on Sunday night.
“The game finds itself in a very unusual situation. I can’t remember anytime in the last 20 years this happening at a press conference, certainly,” Alexander said.
“This is getting ugly,” Cronk responded.
“This is why you can’t cross the line and that’s why Ricky was out of line saying what he did last night because now the Salmon family stand up for the integrity of their son and this is adding spice to the NRL to come down a little bit more heavily.
“(They’re) asking the NRL to do a thorough investigation, and some form of sanction, so they’ve put a little bit of pressure back on the NRL to handle this the right way.”