SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Raiders Coach, Ricky Stuart speaks during the NRL Grand Final Press Conference at the Westin Hotel on October 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Eels boss Brad Arthur and Raiders steward Ricky Stuart used their respective press conferences on Saturday night to slate the referees, with each left bemoaning differing aspects of the Round 11 contest.

After watching his side go down 26-18 to the Green Machine in Canberra, Arthur called into question the disparity in penalties, claiming the Eels had little hope of a win in the nation's capital when they missed out on the rub of the green.

"Nothing went our way," Arthur said bluntly.

"It's very hard to come down here to Canberra when you get a 10-3 penalty count against you."

At present, Parramatta have only earned 52 penalties for the season, seeing them ranked 16th in the competition after almost three months. However, across the same stanza, only six teams have infringed more than the Eels.

"We can't be the best in the competition with our discipline and then get penalised 10 times tonight," Arthur added.

"We can't be told that we've got great compliance and then we get penalised 10 times. It can't happen.

"I will never say anything about the refereeing, but I think tonight we were hard done by."

Arthur went on to back one of his veterans, stating that Junior Paulo's report for a cannonball tackle was off base.

"It's not a cannonball. There was no force in it whatsoever, none," he stated.

"There was nothing in it."

In his own time before the media, Stuart, never shy in jumping on the front foot against adjudicators, also took aim, all despite his side claiming their fifth win on the trot.

Opening up, Stuart took umbrage at a call on Origin hopeful Corey Horsburgh after the Queenslander was sent to the bin for a strike on Ryan Matterson.

Left to do battle without the red-headed forward, the veteran coach called out the ref's call for Horsburgh to cool his heels.

"I think Corey shouldn't have got 10 minutes. I thought that was a poor decision in regard to the sin-binning of Corey. That really put us under pressure," he said.

The legendary former playmaker also went in to bat for his former pupil in Paulo, echoing Arthur's claims.

"I'm a mate of Junior's and I don't want to add any extra exposure, I suppose, to it all. But I had a player go off for that," Stuart said.

"Corey Horsburgh pushed a player in the head. Corey got pushed in the head as well when he was held by the jumper. Latrell Mitchell last week pushed a player to the head twice. Nothing happened, he was allowed to play the ball - we got a player sent to the bin.

"If you're going to change the interpretations around like that it's just crap. You can't change interpretations week to week. I feel sorry for the referees because they're the ones under pressure when the interpretations keep getting changed every week. I don't know who's telling them.

"Why this week when you push someone in the head you get 10 minutes in the bin and put us under pressure as a team. Because last week we saw a situation that you're allowed to do now. You're allowed to push people in the head."

It is yet to be determined whether Arthur and Stuart will face financial sanctions from NRL headquarters.


  1. Well, at least Graham Annesley and Alcoholics Anonymous can’t claim that Ricky and Brad were impugning the integrity of the refs.

    Smart move from Ricky to say “I don’t know who is telling the refs (to change the interpretation)”. That way he cannot be accused of criticising the refs.

    GA has to either say “I told them to change their interpretation” and be yelled at for not telling the clubs, or he says “No one told the refs to change the interpretation”, and throws them under the bus.

    Neither output plays out well for him, so his best course of action is to not fine either coach, and to say nothing.

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