NRL to review Ricky Stuart over press conference F-bomb after Penrith Panthers Round 7 loss

He was twice warned about language in 2021 and now the NRL will again review audio of Ricky Stuart as pressure mounts on the Canberra Raiders.

The bubble has well and truly burst. Canberra started the season with two wins in their opening three games but their fourth defeat in succession has left coach Ricky Stuart under the NRL microscope and forward Corey Horsburgh in the crosshairs.

NRL will review footage of Stuart’s press conference on Tuesday morning but the Canberra coach is expected to avoid sanction for the third time in barely a year over his emotional reaction to another defeat, this time at the hands of Penrith.

A frustrated Stuart muttered “f… me dead” under his breath after being quizzed over his response to Panthers fans doing the Viking clap during the second half of his side’s heavy loss to Penrith at Bluebet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Stuart was warned twice last year over his use of colourful language - once when he was alleged to have sworn on the sidelines and a second time when he swore at a press conference.

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The NRL will review audio of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart after their Round 7 loss to Penrith. Picture: Getty Images.
The NRL will review audio of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart after their Round 7 loss to Penrith. Picture: Getty Images.

News Corp understands that NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo will look at the footage on Tuesday but early signs are that Stuart will avoid a fine for the third time in 14 months, a welcome relief for the coach as he navigates troubled waters in the nation’s capital.

The Raiders have struggled in recent weeks and the fallout from their heavy loss to the Panthers continued to reverberate on Monday. Horsburgh, in particular, was in the crosshairs after a picture emerged on social media appearing to show him blowing bubbles with gum during the last post.

Raiders insiders insist Horsburgh meant no offence and pointed out that the players had immense respect for the Anzac occasion.

Earlier in the week, the Raiders squad toured the war memorial in Canberra and had a former serviceman explain to them the significance of Anzac Day.

News Corp attempted to contact Horsburgh on Monday but he did not respond. The Raiders and Stuart have plenty on their plate at the moment, having lost four games in succession to leave them sitting above only the Bulldogs on the NRL ladder.

After a promising start to the year, things have rapidly drifted and they were soundly beaten by the defending premiers at the weekend.

Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh blows a bubble during the pre-game ceremony in Penrith. Picture: Fox League.
Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh blows a bubble during the pre-game ceremony in Penrith. Picture: Fox League.

Stuart has made significant changes in recent weeks but he must now decide whether to bring centre Jarrod Croker back into the side this week, although the veteran’s cause wasn’t helped when the Raiders were thrashed in NSW Cup on Sunday.

Croker, who is yet to appear in first grade this season after undergoing off-season treatment on his knee, scored a try and kicked a pair of goals but it didn’t help the Raiders as they were beaten 44-12 in the curtain raiser to the main game.

Centre Semi Valemei missed five tackles in the loss to the Panthers and Croker looms large as the Raiders prepare to face the Warriors at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The 31-year-old is nine games short of cracking 300 games in the NRL for the Raiders.

Originally published as NRL to review Ricky Stuart over press conference F-bomb after Penrith Panthers Round 7 loss