Ricky unloads on Raiders and refs
No surprise here, folks. Raiders coach Ricky Stuart didn't fail to produce yet another scathing review of the refereeing in his side's 19-18 defeat in Campbelltown on Saturday night.
But to be fair, he was just as brutal on his own team, who couldn't overcome a Tigers side that spent most of the second half down to just one man on the bench.
"Under those conditions, we should've put them away in the second half and we weren't good enough. It's as simple as that," he said.
"You can't dodge around the truth. We should've won tonight, with what happened to that team there tonight. It's unacceptable how we get beaten. They had injury after injury after injury.
"And to be honest, if we think we're a first grade football team, we should've won. That's the way I see it. There is no excuse for that."
In the end, it was a Braith Anasta field goal that was the difference in the 19-18 defeat. But Stuart was disappointed with his side's inability to convert a number of opportunities to steal the win.
There were the six straights sets on the Tigers tryline midway through the second half they walked away from empty-handed; a point-blank field goal missed by skipper Terry Campese; and then the 35-metre set shot missed by goalkicker Jarrod Croker that again left him in tears.
"Like Rick said, we shouldn't have been in that position," Campese said.
"I should've kicked my field goal 10 metres out. That's my job. We had those sets of six on their line and I think we got pulled up short, held over the line. With the team they had on the field, we should've scored."
But while Stuart didn't hide his disappointment in his players, he was just as bemused by the general officiating in the defeat, including a high-tackle on star fullback Anthony Milford in the first half.
Asked what he thought of lead referee Matt Cecchin interrupting Jarrod Croker seconds before attempting a potential match-winning penalty shot to get the Tigers players onside, Stuart said: "Probably the same thoughts I had when [Anthony] Milford got hit on the head from the kickoff.
"The game was refereed by the video refs tonight. I can't understand why there's so many stoppages, because the referees out there are too scared to make a decision.
"I don't want to blame the two referees but that's where the game's got to. All we're doing is waiting for upstairs to make a decision.
"It's not a bitch about the loss. I just said then, I explained the situation about the loss.
"Milford got hit off the head from the kickoff and we don't get a penalty. I've never seen a referee jump in as a bloke's about to take a kick, a goal to win a match. And he jumps in as a bloke's about to take his first step."