NRL great Cameron Smith believes Raiders coach Ricky Stuart got off lightly after he received a one game ban for a post-match spray about Panthers playmaker Jaeman Salmon.
Stuart was also issued with a $25,000 fine after calling Salmon “a weak-gutted dog” after Canberra’s 26-6 to Penrith last Saturday.
The veteran coach will miss his side’s crunch match with St George on Sunday, as the Raiders look to keep their dwindling hopes of finals football alive.
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As reported by Fox Sports’ James Hooper, Stuart also can’t attend training sessions or contract anyone at the club for seven days from when the punishment was handed down.
speaking on The Captains Runformer Melbourne Storm captain Smith said that he was expecting Stuart to be issued with at least a two-game suspension for his spray.
“With the Salmon family situation, are they still seeking some legal advice on the situation? That’s always an option for them because without a doubt it’s defamation, every day of the week,” Smith said onSEN 1170 Radio.
“I was shocked Kempy (Denan Kemp), I was really shocked. I don’t know how you felt about it but I was extremely shocked when I heard the comments from Ricky.
“We’ve all seen him have his say in post-match press conferences and at times he has certainly pushed the boundaries as far as comments and remarks around officials and what happened on the game.
“That was just a clear crossing of the line. You just don’t go there in that forum.
“He said as much in the days post the comments that he made that it was the wrong thing to do. Now he’s coped a week for it.
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“I thought that it was quite light to be honest, one week. Fairly significantly fine involved, $25,000, it’s a lot of money.
“I actually thought it was going to be more around a minimum of two weeks suspension from the club.”
While Stuart has never been afraid to express how he’s feeling after a match, both Smith and co-host Denan Kemp agreed that a line had been crossed.
Kemp said that a one match suspension was still “reasonable” considering how the Raiders are placed on the ladder, but still felt that the comments had fallen into a “no go zone”.
“If I’m being honest, I used to enjoy his blow-ups. I really did. As a footy fan I thought it was great that we had this guy that sometimes crossed the line, but I think the key for me was always it was about the football with professionals,” Kemp said.
“Whether he’s having a crack at the refs or whoever it was, they’re professionals, they’re apart of the game, and he’s having his opinion on that situation. That’s where I can go ‘you know what, I kind of like the passion’.
“The line is when it’s not at football, and once you get across that line, it’s a no go zone.
“The reason why I’m a bit surprised he only got one week was because he obviously has formed, he’s got I think it was $160,000 worth of fines now.
“I’m still happy with a week. His team is at a very crucial point in the season right now, they need to win every single game pretty much.
Canberra are still in with a chance of playing finals football this season as they continue the run home with four games left to be played.
They’re two competition points behind eighth-place Sydney Roosters, but have a significantly worse point’s differential which could work against them.
Smith thinks that they’ll overcome the loss of their coach to incredibly make the finals, as they have the “softest run” of any team currently in the mix.