Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is under NRL investigation due to an alleged slur directed at referee Henry Perenara during the Warriors’ comeback victory over the Raiders on Saturday.
Stuart’s discontent stemmed from a decision by Perenara to deem legal a pass by Kodi Nikorima, which left Ben Murdoch-Masila almost tripping as he extended to catch the ball.
Watch Stuart’s fiery press conference in the video above
The official was in line with the play and stopped as Murdoch-Masila ran past, before awarding the 59th-minute try.
Stuart’s players were left with arms in the air as a chorus of boos echoed around the GIO Stadium.
News Corp has since reported that Stuart was particularly incensed by the non-call, reporting the passionate coach allegedly yelled out ‘you f***ing disgrace’ in relation to Perenara.
The Canberra mentor later dismissed the accusation, saying whatever came out of his mouth at the time was not directed at any particular person.
“I didn’t go anywhere near him or say anything to him,” Stuart told News Corp.
“Like 13 and a half thousand other people I was singing out and venting my frustration but it was not directed at any individual.
“I’ll always put my hand up when I’m wrong and embarrassed about it.
“If they want to take the further then bring it on.
“What I witnessed yesterday (Saturday) was disappointing because it took the focus off one of the greatest team performances I’ve been involved in.”
Murdoch-Masila’s score proved the turning point in the match, with the Warriors running in two more unanswered tries to seal an unlikely victory.
Compounding the loss, the Raiders spent 68 minutes with only 14 players available after losing Joseph Tapine (ankle), Sebastian Kris (concussion) and Ryan James (concussion) to injury.
Stuart spend spent all of 90 seconds in his post-match press conference.
Stuart, who has been fined in the past for criticising referees, said he could not “tell the truth” of the game without getting fined.
“I come in here because it’s my job, I respect the fact you (the media) have a job, and I’ve got $20,000 hanging over my head,” Stuart said.
“If I don’t turn up here I get fined.
“If all the fine money was going to the Ricky Stuart Foundation I’d tell you the truth today, because then I get fined and I know the money is going to the best cause I know of.
“I can’t tell you the truth, I can’t tell you the way that game panned out because I’ll get fined.”
Fox Sports reports that Stuart is likely to avoid any sanction for his sideline comments.
“I think this will peter out as being a storm in a teacup,” Fox Sports James Hooper said.
“The Raiders have got a new ground manager who looks after all their NRL games, it’s a bloke called Matt Hall, he’s an ex referee.
“For whatever reason he’s decided to include in his report a comment he’s heard Ricky say, or allegedly say, on the sidelines when the referee is 50 metres or more away.
“In this instance he’s been, in my view, unfairly called out. Ricky’s just muttered something under his breath, this ground manager happens to be within a couple of metres and decides to put it in an official report.
“There’s nothing in the referee’s report. I think it will fizzle out tomorrow, I don’t think we will see Ricky issued any sort of fine.”
– With AAP