NRL 2024: Canberra Raiders, Ricky Stuart press conference, Cronulla Sharks loss, 18-0 point lead, will there be changes, Matt Timoko question

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Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has delivered one of his trademark post-match press conferences after the Raiders gave up an 18-point lead and lost to the Sharks on Sunday.

Stuart slammed his side’s second straight defeat as “embarrassing” and “abysmal” and even scolded a journalist for praising one of his players.

The journalist said Raiders No. 3 Matt Timoko was “solid” on the edge and asked Stuart for his assessment of the centre’s performance.

“Nobody was solid tonight, mate. There wasn’t a player on our team that was solid. Don’t be giving praise to people that don’t deserve it,” Stuart shot back.

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“It wasn’t complacency (at 18-0), it wasn’t the rotation, it was individuals not f***ing… it was individuals not performing.

“We were winning 18-0 playing poorly.

“We played a patch of 12 or 14 minutes of half-decent football, outside of that we were embarrassing. It was awful.

“We worked too hard in the off-season, that’s not us, that’s definitely not us, but tonight it was.

“We’ve worked too hard and changed a lot of those real bad habits that crept in there tonight and that’s what I’ve got to deal with now and get it back out of us because we started the season really well and that was abysmal.

“We won’t be forgetting tonight real quick, I can promise you. It was really poor and it’ll be dealt with.”

Stuart was asked what “dealt with” meant he warned there would likely be changes after several players produced their worst game of the season.

“There might be changes, yeah. It was a performance that every individual out there was below par,” he said.

“Usually when our bench has gone on this season we’ve been keeping the momentum… but when Joe (Tapine) and Paps (Josh Papalii) went off we lost everything, we lost all momentum, the whole game changed.

“We started to lose momentum, frustration crept in and once you get frustrated like that and things aren’t going your way… look that was a massive win for Fitzy and that team, that was half of Newtown in there and our second grade, they were just as poor yesterday.

“They had a lot of second graders in there and they did the job and our boys didn’t.”

Canberra captain Joe Tapine said: “It’s just individuals not performing and a team that plays together will beat individuals every day.”

Originally published as ‘Don’t praise people that don’t deserve it’: Ricky scolds journo, players in vintage presser blow-up

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