SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 20: Raiders coach Ricky Stuart speaks to the media in the post match press conference after the round 19 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canberra Raiders at Southern Cross Group Stadium on July 20, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has launched a scathing attack at the NRL for some of the referee decisions during his side’s 28-24 loss to the Sharks.

Stuart was particularly unhappy over one Sharks’ try where the referee actually called knock on and the touch judge lifted his flag.

Another decision that infuriated the Canberra coach was when centre Joey Leilua got called for an iffy forward pass which could have gone either way.

“Well I only saw the one replay, but to me it went well behind a lot of passes that have been let go this year,” Stuart told reporters post-match.

“All this rot started at Round 1 this year.

“I don’t know who came out and told the referees, that they had to come in and pick on everything.

“When you start nitpicking at little sh**ty pieces of play and realistically, if you are going to do that right, in every tackle in every set of six you can find something in rugby league.

“But that’s the beautiful thing about our game.

“The penalty count should have been 55-60 if you were going to be fair dinkum, but we’ve ruined the first 14 rounds of this competition.

“We’ve lost fans and I know so many people who have said they’ve been turned off the game of rugby league because of it.

“But then, halfway through the year Todd Greenberg has come out and told everyone to stop nitpicking.

“We are the only sport in the world, that changes interpretations midway through the year.

“Every coach gets an email on Wednesday telling us that this won’t be acceptable this week.

“I have one session after that, what am I meant to tell the players?

“It’s like a cricket umpire telling you LBW this week is only going to be leg stump and middle stump.

Stuart conceded that the referees were not completely to blame considering his side dug themselves in a hole at half time, but they made the job harder for them.

“We did enough in that second half to win the match,” Stuart said.

“But people don’t understand that this is our job and we play for results.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t help you when you have people making errors, that don’t help you when you are after a result.

“But again we won’t look at it and blame the referee and or his touch judge, but any time a touch judge puts his flag up isn’t the referee meant to blow his whistle?”

Canberra skipper Josh Hodgson defended the players for stopping after seeing a flag go up.

“I know what people are going to say, that we should have played to the whistle, but he put the whistle in his mouth and the flag went up,” Hodgson told reporters after the tough loss.

“It is natural instinct when you see a flag go up and a whistle go up to the referees mouth that you stop.”

Stuart continued his tirade, attacking the NRL for making the referee’s jobs too hard.

“This is why people are turning off rugby league,” Stuart said.

“And it is sad because I don’t blame the referees, they have a very tough job, but too many voices around them are making it too hard for them.

“I believe we have very competent referees and the professionalism they have is as good as it can be, but we have too many people around them not letting them do their job.

“For one the bunker is a waste of time.

“For the referee to be able to use it as a tool because he doesn’t know, is wrong.

“The bunker is making it harder for the referees.”

Stuart added that “the disappointing thing is that we are talking about it.”

“I got into my players for not playing to the whistle, but they told me that the flag went up and the referee called knock on, so what are they meant to do?”



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