The NRL will likely deal Raiders coach Ricky Stuart a two-match ban for his extraordinary spray at young Panther Jaeman Salmon, Nine’s Danny Weidler reports.
Stuart labelled Salmon a “weak-gutted dog person” in an explosive press conference following Penrith’s win over Canberra on Saturday.
The Raiders mentor made the stunning comments when asked about an incident involving Salmon in the Panthers-Raiders clash, in which the playmaker kicked Tom Starling in the groin region.
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It was later revealed Stuart and Salmon had a run-in during a junior rugby league game in 2010, when Salmon and Stuart’s son were playing in an under 12s match.
The Salmon family publicly called on the NRL to “take action” against Stuart for the press conference attack, while the Panthers are reportedly considering legal action on behalf of the 23-year-old against the veteran coach.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner told Weidler on 9News that the club would cop whatever punishment the NRL handed down.
“We’ve spoken to our board this morning and we’ve spoken to the NRL and said that we’ll accept their findings and we’ll move on,” Furner said.
“Whilst Rick’s very experienced, he’s done a lot of press conferences before, it still doesn’t stop the human emotion that can come out.
“It shouldn’t have and it did, and he’s apologised for that. We all understand players or coaches that family comes first, but in his position you’ve got to learn to divorce yourself of that.”
Furner also said he considered Salmon’s family in the ordeal.
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“Absolutely. You mention family. He’s got a family, he’s got parents. I can imagine what they’re going through,” Furner said.
“It’s difficult, and we apologise as a club.”
The Raiders are willing to let Stuart take time off to reset.
“In all workplaces like ours, people come under stress and no one more so than the head coach,” Furner said.
“We had that discussion last night. Our support will be there for him and if he needs time away we’ll certainly allow him to take that time.”
Stuart, a Raiders legend who won grand finals with Canberra in 1989, 1990 and 1994, had his coaching contract extended in July.
Ricky apologises for Salmon outburst
He took on the coaching gig ahead of the 2014 season and is contracted until the end of 2025.
When Weidler asked Furner if the club still believed in Stuart as a person and coach, the club boss was unequivocal.
“Absolutely. We extended his contract, he’s the heart and soul of this club, everybody knows what he’s like and that’s what we love about him,” Furner said.
“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t make mistakes. We all do.”
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