Ricky Stuart would not comment on the two talking points of the 2019 NRL grand final that affected his team – the ball ricocheting off the head of a Roosters trainer and the reversed six-again call by referee Ben Cummins.
Stuart, flanked at his media conference either side by co-captain Jarrod Croker and Clive Churchill medallist Jack Wighton, played a straight bat when asked about the referee decision that NRL head of football Graham Annesley labelled as "messy" but ultimately correct.
Wighton was one of the players that saw Cummins' original signal to play six more tackles, before he quickly reversed it after advice from assistant referee Gerard Sutton and his touch judges.
"Graham wanted to speak to me but I didn't want to speak to him," Stuart said.
"I'm a big enough boy to make my own call. And I'd like you to think of it as a wonderful grand final.
"I saw it as a very tough game that we could have won.
"The one thing I'll say is that if it is the wrong call – and I've only seen it once – is that there's not a referee that would go out there and try to make a mistake, if it was a mistake.
"If it is wrong, I hope that he's not the spotlight of this evening."
Match Highlights: Roosters v Raiders
Annesley called a snap press conference to explain why the decision was right, but that the original 'six again' call meant it was communicated in a confusing way.
A Luke Keary kick in the sixth minute ricocheted off Sia Soliola and then the head of Roosters trainer Travis Touma, with Elliott Whitehead ready to pounce on the bouncing ball and race away. Instead the scrum feed was correctly awarded to the Roosters as they had the territorial advantage.
"If it was going to go wrong it's been going wrong for us this year," Stuart said.
"All the adversity we've had this year we've overcome… it's built resilience in this team. We don't look for excuses; we look for solutions to get on with it."
Pressed on how significant the six-again call became, with Roosters fullback James Tedesco scoring in the next set, Stuart stuck to his silent guns.
"You all saw it. None of us here will be commentating on that tonight. It's not the time to talk about it," he said.
"The Roosters achieved something very special tonight in winning two grand finals in a row. I don't want to take the spotlight off them.
"Instead of me tomorrow saying what I think and getting abused by everybody in regards to my unsportsmanlike manner, you write what you think."
Wighton held the line, when asked about Cummins' change of call.
"As Ricky just said, we won't be commenting on that."
Stuart said the first thing he did walking on the field after full-time was congratulate the four officials.
Annesley praised the Raiders head coach for his actions.
Annesley gives his opinion on six again reversal incident
"I've known Ricky for many, many years. I've been on the field with him – he's a great competitor and would have loved nothing more than to win the grand final," Annesley said.
"So for him to make that gesture to the match officials speaks volumes about his character.
"Does it in any way lessen the impact on Ricky and the Raiders? No it doesn't."
Annesley said he was still prepared to talk to the Raiders about the decision.
"I'm happy to talk to Ricky or anyone from the Raiders at any time," he said. "I know they're very disappointed at the moment and will want to regroup… but I'm happy to speak to them any time they are prepared to talk."