An irate Ricky Stuart is unlikely to face censure from the NRL after launching a press conference broadside at a rugby league journalist in a dramatic post-script to Canberra’s 24-all draw with Newcastle.
Stuart took exception to a question posed by award-winning Newcastle Herald journalist Robert Dillon.
Halfway through the press conference, Dillon asked the premiership-winning mentor what he thought of Joseph Tapine’s debut for the Raiders. Tapine was the subject of a pre-season tug-of-war between the Knights and the Raiders before moving to the nation’s capital.
“When you write crap articles about me the way you do, why should I talk to you?” Stuart said.
“Have a think about it. I have only read one column of yours and that was two weeks ago.
“It is compulsory for me to come in here, but it is not compulsory for me to talk to blokes like you.
Stuart was incensed by an article written by Dillon last month in the wake of Tapine’s defection to the Raiders.
Headlined: “Tapine exit a reality check for Knights”, the article outlined a handful of players whose careers had failed to progress under Stuart, also at former Kangaroos and NSW State of Origin coach.
In particular, the article focused on the case of Karl Filiga, who was signed by Cronulla – when Stuart was there – as an NRL rookie on a reported $200,000 a season for three years.
Filiga only managed 11 minutes of first grade for the Sharks before being released to NSW Cup outfit Wentworthville Magpies.
Dillon is no stranger to confrontation. He was blacklisted at the Knights by controversial former owner Nathan Tinkler and banned from attending training sessions or speaking to players or then-coach Wayne Bennett for writing a series of articles deemed “too negative” by the ex-mining magnate.
Dillon was later awarded a Walkley Award for his coverage of Tinkler’s time at Newcastle.