19 hours ago
Ref Upsets Ricky Stuart
Ropeable Ricky Stuart unloaded on referee Sean Hampstead after his Sydney Roosters salvaged a 12-all draw with Parramatta in a stop-start National Rugby League match at Aussie Stadium on Friday.
A late try to halfback Craig Wing gave the Roosters a share of the two premiership points, but Stuart was unable to focus on anything but Hampstead's whistle-happy performance in the post-match press conference.
The penalty count finished 9-7 to the Eels, but it was more Hampstead's perceived inconsistency that had Stuart launching an attack that might well cost the Roosters $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.
"Two teams turned up to play football tonight and it was ruined by a bloke who refereed it," Stuart fired.
"(For) 35 minutes he blows the pea out of the whistle and then you don't hear about it the second half.
"Interpretations don't change from week to week, they change in each half.
"I can understand why crowds sit in the pub to watch games ... he reminded me of a rugby union referee, this bloke tonight. All he wanted to do was blow the whistle.
"He was blowing penalties for laying over the tackled player, he was blowing up penalties for not being straight at marker and then in the second half (he) lets it go.
"Look, it's hard enough coaching a football team and trying to prepare for what the opposition's going to do and what you're going to do, let alone for what the bloke in the middle is going to do.
"It's starting to become a job where you've got to coach to what referee's got the game."
Asked if he could put his refereeing gripes aside and assess his team's performance, Stuart replied: "No, I can't because he practically creates the form for us".
"With 25 minutes to go the penalty count was 9-4 against us. And then of course the same old story - week in, week out - it's 10-9 (or) 10-8. They even up in the second half.
"It's just a load of crap the way they carry on nowadays. It ruins a real good game of football.
"I mean, you're going to get a great audience watching it on television and all they see is a bloke with an ego in the middle. It happens week, in week out. Things aren't changing."
NRL boss David Gallop witnessed Stuart's blast first-hand and later spoke with Roosters boss Bernie Gurr.
"He (Stuart) was obviously upset and, as we do with all these sorts of matters, we'll have a look at it on Monday.
Parramatta coach Brian Smith was also far from happy with Hampstead's display after watching his team receive two penalties early in the second half, then have to hang on as the Roosters rallied on the back of three straight penalties.
"Good night Irene, we were the punching bag for the rest of the night," Smith said.
"But we handled it."
The Eels established a 12-2 lead through first-half tries from second rower Andrew Ryan and winger Scott Donald before the Roosters drew level with replies from fullback Luke Phillips and Wing with four minutes left on the clock.
The Eels finished the match with injury concerns over fullback Adam Mogg (locked knee) and centre MIchael Buettner (corked thigh) after both failed to see out the 80 minutes.