When Ricky Stuart stepped to the podium for his post grand final press conference last night, he had two options: the high road, or the low road.
Commendably, Stuart took the high road on the topic of the murky decision making by referee Ben Cummins in the 70th minute, when Cummins appeared to signal six again for the Raiders before changing his call to last tackle.
“Instead of me saying what I think and getting abused by everybody in regards to my [unsportsmanlike] manner, you write what you think,” Stuart said after the match.
“You all saw it. None of us will be commenting on that tonight. It’s not the time to be talking about it. The Roosters achieved something very special winning two grand finals in a row and I don’t want to take the spotlight off them.
“The first thing I did when I walked onto the field I went to the four officials and congratulated them. No one goes out there to make a mistake. They’ve got tough jobs. We could have won it and we didn’t. It’s a very empty feeling, losing a grand final.”
Stuart’s reservedness is especially impressive when you consider the Roosters took the ball from the turnover to the big house, with James Tedesco scoring the match-winning try.
Australian Rugby league boss Peter Beattie has since called Stuart a “role model” for his actions and temperament.
“He took it on the chin, he congratulated the referees. I think what Ricky Stuart did was a role model for the game.
“I have enormous amount of sympathy for Canberra fans and obviously they let me know their views overnight. I saw it online and in social media,” Beattie said.