Ricky John Stuart AM (born 7 January 1967) is an Australian professional rugby league football coach who is the head coach of the Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League (NRL) and a former rugby league footballer who played as a halfback in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.[4]

Ricky Stuart
AM
Personal information
Full nameRicky John Stuart
Born (1967-01-07) 7 January 1967 (age 57)
Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia
Height175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight83 kg (13 st 1 lb)
Playing information
PositionHalfback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1988–98 Canberra Raiders 203 39 7 25 195
1999–00 Canterbury Bulldogs 40 2 0 2 10
Total 243 41 7 27 205
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1990 NSW City 1 2 0 0 8
1990–94 New South Wales 14 3 0 0 12
1991 NSW Country 1 0 0 0 0
1990–94 Australia 9 1 0 1 5
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2002–06 Sydney Roosters 130 78 1 51 60
2007–10 Cronulla Sharks 91 38 0 53 42
2013 Parramatta Eels 24 5 0 19 21
2014– Canberra Raiders 257 133 1 123 52
Total 502 254 2 246 51
Representative
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2004 NSW Country 1 1 0 0 100
2005 New South Wales 3 2 0 1 67
2006–08 Australia 11 10 0 1 91
2011–12 New South Wales 6 2 0 4 33
Source: [1][2]
As of 20 April 2024

He was also the head coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team, having replaced Craig Bellamy following a fifth consecutive failure in the 2010 series. Stuart had previously been coach of the Australian national side, and has coached NRL clubs, the Sydney Roosters (taking them to three consecutive grand finals from 2002 to 2004), Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Parramatta Eels.

A former international representative rugby league and rugby union player – a dual-code international – Stuart also played State of Origin for New South Wales in the first Gould era. At club level, Stuart was the half-back of the "Green Machine", the Canberra Raiders team that won three premierships in 1989, 1990 and 1994 and were runners-up in 1991 who were coached by Tim Sheens. As a player Stuart was noted for his ability to throw long, spiralling passes to both the left and right sides of the field.[5]

Early life edit

Stuart was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia.

He had originally played rugby league as a child, but he took up rugby union while attending St Edmund's College.[6]

Rugby union career edit

Stuart was selected for the ACT Schoolboys in 1984.[citation needed]

Stuart's union career was with the Queanbeyan Whites before being selected for the Wallabies tour of Argentina in 1987. Stuart played three tour matches but no Test matches. Stuart played in both the Fly-half and Scrum-half positions.[7]

Rugby league career edit

Canberra edit

Stuart then switched codes to league and joined the Canberra Raiders team in 1988, winning the club's player of the year award that season. He was a key member of the club's most successful period in the late 1980s, and early 1990s, playing halfback inside a backline including legendary talents Laurie Daley, Mal Meninga and Gary Belcher. Stuart would go on to win three premierships with the Canberra Raiders. After the 1989 Grand Final victory, Stuart travelled to England with the Raiders for the 1989 World Club Challenge which was lost to Widnes.[citation needed]

Stuart was named man-of-the-match in the second game of the 1990 State of Origin series. He won the Clive Churchill Medal in the Raiders' 1990 grand final victory. He debuted in the first test of the 1990 Kangaroo tour against Great Britain in London in October 1990, playing five-eighth outside Allan Langer. This appearance saw him become Australia's 38th dual code rugby international, following Michael O'Connor and preceding Scott Gourley.[citation needed] He replaced Langer at halfback in the next test. In 1992 and 1993, Stuart was again named the Raiders' player of the year [citation needed] and in 1993 Stuart won the Dally M Medal for the Winfield Cup's Player of the Year. He went on the 1994 Kangaroo Tour and his first test of the tour was the 2nd test. He was again preceded by Langer.

Canterbury-Bankstown edit

Stuart retired from first grade after playing 243 games for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders in 1989 to 2000 after failing to recover from a recurring knee injury.[8]

Coaching career edit

Sydney Roosters edit

Stuart began his first grade coaching career in 2002 with the Sydney Roosters, taking over from Graham Murray and winning the premiership in his first year as coach. Having won the 2002 NRL Premiership, the Roosters travelled to England to play the 2003 World Club Challenge against Super League champions, St Helens R.F.C. Stuart coached Sydney to a 38-0 victory. That year he took the Roosters to the 2003 NRL grand final but they lost to the Penrith Panthers. The 2004 Stuart-coached Roosters side was also beaten in the Grand Final, but the team struggled in 2005 and 2006. Stuart's contract was terminated and he left the Roosters two weeks before the end of the 2006 season.[citation needed]

 
Stuart in 2009

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks edit

In 2007, Stuart took over from Stuart Raper as head coach of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks with a two-year contract, which was then extended to the end of the 2011 playing season.

Despite the Sharks making the preliminary finals in 2008, Stuart's time with the club was marred by a horror year in 2009. Not only was the club in dire financial straits[9] but the Cronulla club was also tarnished by media allegations about a 2002 group-sex incident involving former Sharks players, player Reni Maitua's dismissal after testing positive to drugs,[10] removal of the captaincy from key player Paul Gallen, due to making racist remarks several unsavoury incidents involving now-disgraced CEO Tony Zappia (including his assault of a female staff member and involvement in an insurance-fraud fan donation scandal).[11]

On 19 July 2010, Stuart resigned as Cronulla-Sutherland coach six weeks before the end of the 2010 season. Stuart said that he decided to leave Cronulla after he felt that he no longer had the support of his players. Stuart went on to say "I just feel I can't get that extra bit out of them at the moment, Talking to the players at halftime and after the game, I could probably sense with them that this was the only decision".[12]

Stuart leaving the club ended yet another tenure prematurely and at loggerheads with club executives, members and players, with Cronulla appointing Shane Flanagan as his replacement.[13]

 
Stuart in 2011

Parramatta Eels edit

Stuart signed a lucrative three-year contract with the Parramatta Eels, beginning in 2013. This meant that Stuart had to stand down as the head coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team, as the state had put in a policy that the head coach would not have any relation to an NRL club. The Eels had in recent years been perennial underachievers, with Stuart set the unenviable task of resurrecting the team after the team finished last in 2012. However, in the round 4 match against the Roosters, Stuart suffered the worst defeat in his NRL coaching career, losing 50-0.[14] In the aftermath of the game, Stuart said at the press conference "I can't say it won't happen again, it will and I hope to turn it around quickly but it won't, it is going to take a long time to turn it around, we have to keep building our roster because it is not up to the level of other rosters".[15]

In April 2013 Stuart was fined $10,000 for questioning a referee's impartiality following a loss to the Gold Coast.[16] In June 2013, Stuart infamously told twelve Parramatta players via an overhead projector that their services were no longer required beyond the 2013 NRL season.[17]

On 11 September 2013, Stuart announced that he was quitting the Parramatta Eels to join the Canberra Raiders as head coach on a three-year contract to continue his coaching career. The day after he announced his moved Stuart spoke at Parramatta's presentation night saying “I’ve been assassinated over the last day and I’ll be assassinated again tomorrow,” Stuart said at the time, "but they are small-minded people. They don’t understand the big decision I’ve had to make. It’s been very hard, it’s been very difficult, it’s a very big decision. I’ve had a lot of criticism today. It’s not easy to take. I’ve had my character judged. I made a decision that’s best for my career and my family and I’ll wear all the criticism".[18]

Canberra Raiders edit

Stuart took up the head coach position of the Canberra Raiders on a three-year deal in 2014.[4]

Following Canberra's loss in round 10 of the 2014 NRL season, Stuart spoke to the media saying "When you get shit refereeing, sorry, when you get poor refereeing decisions that are just incorrect, purely incorrect, that frustrates you because it's a tight competition and every game's a tight game". Stuart was later fined $10,000 by the NRL for his post match comments.[19][20]

In 2016, Stuart coached Canberra to a second-placed finish at the end of the regular season. In week one of the finals, Canberra were upset in front of a sold-out home crowd losing to eventual premiers Cronulla 16-14. Canberra would defeat Penrith the following week to qualify for the club's first preliminary final in 19 years. Canberra went on to fall short of a grand final appearance losing to Melbourne 14-12.[21][22]

In July 2018 after a match against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in which a refereeing mistake led to a try cost the Raiders the game, Stuart demanded that the NRL overhaul the bunker system responsible for reviewing potential tries.[23]

In the 2019 NRL season, Stuart guided Canberra to a 4th-place finish at the end of the 2019 regular season. Canberra would then go on to defeat Melbourne and South Sydney to qualify for their first grand final in 25 years. In the 2019 NRL Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters, Canberra lost the match 14-8 in controversial circumstances. During the second half of the game and with only 10 minutes remaining, Canberra were initially given a new six tackle set after referee Ben Cummins had ruled that the Sydney Roosters had touched the ball. Canberra player Jack Wighton would then be tackled with the ball. Cummins later ruled that it was not a repeat set and it was a handover to the Sydney Roosters. In the following minutes, Roosters player James Tedesco would score the match winning try.

In the post match press conference, Stuart told the media "You all saw it. None of us here will be commenting on that tonight. It's not the time to talk about it".[24][25][26]

In the 2020 NRL season, Stuart guided Canberra to a fifth placed finish on the table as they qualified for the finals. Canberra would eventually reach the preliminary final before losing to Melbourne 30-10. In the post match press conference, Stuart walked out after answering only one question.[27]

In round 8 of the 2021 NRL season, Canberra were defeated by South Sydney 34-20 which included two tries that were disallowed against Canberra. In the post match press conference Stuart said "I'll look like a whinger, which I don't really give a shit about being labelled a whinger, but when you get a game out there where it's 8-1 in penalties, I just think it needs a discussion".[28] Canberra would finish the 2021 NRL season in a disappointing 10th place on the table after the club were tipped to reach the finals and once again challenge for the premiership.[29][30]

Following Canberra's 36-6 loss against Penrith in round 7 of the 2022 NRL season, Stuart was asked by journalists following the match on his thoughts about the Penrith crowd mocking Canberra's viking clap. Stuart responded with "Is that really a big focus point?, Well if that is all we have got to talk about Fuck me dead".[31] Following Canberra's loss against Penrith in round 21 of the 2022 NRL season, Stuart commented on Penrith player Jaeman Salmon who had kicked out at Canberra's Tom Starling while he was playing the ball. Stuart went on to say "I've had history with that kid. I know that kid very well. He was a weak gutted dog as a kid and he hasn't changed now. He's a weak gutted dog person now".[32] On 9 August 2022, Stuart was fined $25,000 and suspended for one match from the NRL over his comments towards Salmon.[33] Following Canberra's 48-2 loss against Melbourne in round 24 of the 2023 NRL season, Stuart walked out after just 80 seconds of the post match press conference. Stuart said "It wasn't tough at all. It was just embarrassing. (I'm) absolutely embarrassed, I'll talk tomorrow about it. I'm not trying to be disrespectful to you mate. I just ain't in the mood for talking. Really, it's just… I'm here because I have to be".[34] Stuart guided Canberra to an 8th place finish in the 2023 NRL season. Canberra would go on to be eliminated in the first week as they lost their elimination final against Newcastle 30-28 in golden point extra-time.[35]

In 2024, Stuart coached his 250th game for Canberra against the New Zealand Warriors. They would go on to lose 18-10. Following Canberra's round 6 golden point victory over the Gold Coast, Stuart said in the post match press conference "F*** me. He's on another planet, If he's critical of the six-agains and the penalties, he's on another planet.He coached well, but the way they cheated with hands on the ball [in tackles], the way they cheated on the ground". Stuart said this in relation to Des Hasler stating that the referees were unfavourable towards the Gold Coast.[36] In round 8 of the 2024 NRL season, Stuart coached his 500th first grade game which would end in a 40-0 loss against one of his former clubs in Cronulla.[37]

Representative Coaching edit

State of Origin edit

In 2005, Stuart was appointed coach of the New South Wales.[38] Although Stuart only coached the NSW side for just one series, the Blues managed to win the series 2-1 after losing the first match in golden point. On 17 November 2010, Stuart was appointed as the state's first full-time coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team for two years. Stuart's victory in 2005 was the last time NSW won an origin series until the Laurie Daley coached Blues won in 2014.

Stuart coached the Blues for the 2011 series, which was lost to the Maroons by two games to one.

Stuart continued in the NSW head coaching role for the 2012 series, which was once again lost by two games to one. For the second consecutive year however, New South Wales won Game II in Sydney. Shortly after signing on as Parramatta Eels coach for the 2013 season onwards, Stuart resigned from his role as NSW coach.[39]

Australia edit

In December 2005, Stuart was appointed as coach of Australian national rugby league team, replacing Wayne Bennett after Australia's loss in the 2005 Tri-Nations Final to New Zealand by a scoreline of 24-0.[40] This meant that Stuart had to stand down as coach of the New South Wales State of Origin team. Stuart enjoyed success with the Kangaroos: winning the Anzac Tests of 2006 and 2007, as well as the 2006 Tri-Nations. In addition, at the end of the 2007 season, the team won a one-off Test against New Zealand.

2008 World Cup controversy edit

Stuart's Australian team lost the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final to New Zealand, 34–20. Afterwards he was reported to be so incensed by the defeat that he verbally attacked Geoff Carr, the Chief Executive of Australian Rugby League, claiming that tournament organisers and match officials conspired to cause the Australian loss.[41] The next morning he had a chance meeting with Ashley Klein, who refereed the final, and Stuart Cummings, England's director of referees, at their hotel. He is reported to have verbally abused both officials in front of a number of witnesses, calling Klein a cheat, and of being physically and aggressively intimidating.[42]

Statistics edit

Ricky Stuart – Coaching Results by Season[43]
Year NRL Team Games Wins Draws Losses Win % Notes
2002 Sydney Roosters 28 19 1 8 68% Won 2002 NRL Grand Final against New Zealand Warriors
2003 27 19 0 8 70% Lost 2003 NRL Grand Final against Penrith Panthers
2004 27 21 0 6 78% Lost 2004 NRL Grand Final against Bulldogs
2005 24 11 0 13 46% Finished 9th (out of 15)
2006 24 8 0 16 33% Finished 14th (out of 15)
2007 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 10 0 14 42% Finished 11th (out of 16)
2008 26 18 0 8 69% Lost Grand Final qualifier against Melbourne Storm
2009 24 5 0 19 21% Finished 15th (out of 16)
2010 17 5 0 12 29% Resigned with 6 rounds remaining
2013 Parramatta Eels 24 5 0 19 21% Finished 16th (out of 16)
2014   Canberra Raiders 24 8 0 16 33% Finished 15th (out of 16)
2015   Canberra Raiders 24 10 0 14 42% Finished 10th (out of 16)
2016   Canberra Raiders 27 18 1 8 67% Finished 2nd (out of 16). Lost Preliminary Final to Melbourne Storm.
2017   Canberra Raiders 24 11 0 13 46% Finished 10th (out of 16)
2018   Canberra Raiders 24 10 0 14 42% Finished 10th (out of 16)
2019   Canberra Raiders 27 17 0 10 63% Finished 4th (out of 16) Lost 2019 NRL Grand Final to Sydney Roosters
2020   Canberra Raiders 23 16 0 7 70% Finished 5th (out of 16) Lost Preliminary Final to Melbourne Storm.
2021   Canberra Raiders 24 10 0 14 42% Finished 10th (out of 16)
2022   Canberra Raiders 25 14 0 11 56% Finished 8th (out of 16), suspended for round 22 match
2023   Canberra Raiders 24 13 11
2024   Canberra Raiders
Career 467 235 2 230 50%

Personal life edit

Stuart is married to his wife Kaylie and they have three children - daughter Emma and two sons Jackson and Jed.[44]

Stuart was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours, for "significant service to rugby league, and to the community".[45]

The Ricky Stuart Foundation edit

In 2011, inspired by his daughter being diagnosed with autism, Stuart and his wife founded the Ricky Stuart Foundation, a charity which aims to raise support for autism and to assist with the provision of carers and support for families. [citation needed] The Raiders replace their major jersey sponsor for one round each year with the foundation's logo to help raise further support.

References edit

  1. ^ RLP
  2. ^ Rugby League Project Coaches
  3. ^ Masters, Roy (26 September 2008). "Finals feud: Sticky v Bellyache". Brisbane Times. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Ricky Stuart quits as Parramatta coach to join Canberra Raiders". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  5. ^ Middleton, David (2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Stuart given honour of addressing Wallabies". AAP Sports News (Australia). 14 November 2003. Archived from the original (Fee required) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  7. ^ "Wallabies Rugby | News | Jersey | Game | Wallabies".
  8. ^ "Legacy of the Dogs". 21 September 2002.
  9. ^ "Pierce stands firm as cash-strapped Sharks accept NRL rescue bid - Local News - Sport - Rugby League - St George & Sutherland Shire Leader". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  10. ^ Reni Maitua tests positive to drugs
  11. ^ 08/06/2009 Zappia quits
  12. ^ "Gus takes reins at Roosters; Stuart quits Sharks". NRL. 18 July 2021.
  13. ^ 24 May 2010 NRL Media Release: Ricky Stuart Granted Release from the Sharks
  14. ^ Rampaging Roosters obliterate listless Eels, by Adam Lucius, Sportal, dated 1 April 2013.
  15. ^ "Pathetic Parramatta humiliated". April 2013.
  16. ^ "Ricky Stuart cops $10,000 fine from NRL". 3 News NZ. 16 April 2013.
  17. ^ "'Heartless' move that sparked 'bad blood' and triggered saviour Stuart's messy Eels exit". www.foxsports.com.au.
  18. ^ [1], by Ian McCullough, NRL News, dated 11 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Ricky Stuart rant and foul language mar Penrith Panthers' 26-20 win over Canberra Raiders". Daily Telegraph. 18 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart fined $10,000 by NRL over foul-mouthed referee rant". News.com.au. 21 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Storm to meet Cronulla in NRL grand final after 14-12 win over Raiders". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 September 2016.
  22. ^ "NRL finals: Cronulla Sharks upset Canberra Raiders to earn preliminary final berth". 10 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says Bunker needs overhaul". 21 July 2018.
  24. ^ "NRL grand final player ratings: Roosters and Raiders hits and misses". SMH. 6 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Sydney Roosters beat Canberra Raiders to win NRL Grand Final". BBC Sport.
  26. ^ "How Ricky Stuart reacted to grand final 'six-again' refereeing shocker". WWOS.
  27. ^ "Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart storms out of press conference after one question". wwos.nine.com.au.
  28. ^ "'I don't really give a sh-t': Ricky Stuart unloads on lop-sided penalty count in Raiders' loss to Rabbitohs". wwos.nine.com.au.
  29. ^ "Roosters' 'Mr Fix It' stuns with hat-trick, Sloppy Raiders' final fade out ends season: 3 Big Hits". www.foxsports.com.au. 2 September 2021.
  30. ^ "Tough conversations coming for senior Canberra stars as interest grows in Parramatta young gun Dylan Brown". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  31. ^ "'F*** me dead': Ricky bristles over Viking clap question in tense Raiders presser". www.foxsports.com.au. 24 April 2022.
  32. ^ "NRL talking points: Raiders coach Ricky Stuart goes ballistic at Tom Starling low blow by Penrith Panthers' Jaeman Salmon". www.canberratimes.com.au. 6 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Ricky Stuart breach notice". www.nrl.com. 9 August 2022.
  34. ^ "'Delivered up that crap': Ricky storms out of 80-sec presser over 'embarrassing' Raiders". www.foxsports.com.au.
  35. ^ "Ricky turned losing a club legend into a winning season. Now for his biggest challenge - Brutal Review". www.foxsports.com.au.
  36. ^ "NRL admits Chevy Stewart was offside before Raiders fullback charged down Titans' golden-point field goal shot". www.abc.net.au.
  37. ^ "NRL updates: Dolphins vs Newcastle Knights, Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks — blog, scores and stats". www.abc.net.au.
  38. ^ David Polkinghorne (18 November 2020). "Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart at Origin of NSW Blues' Queensland wins". Canberra Times. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  39. ^ Why Ricky Stuart made the call to quit coaching the NSW Blues| Herald Sun
  40. ^ AAP (12 December 2005). "Stuart is new Kangaroos coach". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  41. ^ "Stuart's conspiracy claim rattles Carr - leaguehq.com.au". Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  42. ^ "Now Stuart stands accused of calling cup final referee a cheat - leaguehq.com.au". Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  43. ^ "Rugby League Project". Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  44. ^ "Ricky Stuart unveils plan for autism respite centre in Canberra". 21 February 2014.
  45. ^ "Queen's Birthday 2021 Honours - the full list". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.

External links edit

Sporting positions
Preceded by Canberra Raiders captain
1995–97
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Andrew Dunemann (interim)
2013
Coach
 
Canberra Raiders

2014-Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by Coach
 
Parramatta Eels

2013
Succeeded by
Brad Arthur
2014-present
Preceded by
Craig Bellamy
2008-2010
Coach
 
New South Wales
State of Origin

2011-2012
Succeeded by
Laurie Daley
2013–2017
Preceded by
Stuart Raper
2004–2006
Coach
 
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

2007–2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Wayne Bennett
2004–2005
Coach
 
Australia

2006–2008
Succeeded by
Tim Sheens
2009–2015
Preceded by
Graham Murray
2000–2001
Coach
 
Sydney Roosters

2002–2006
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Phil Gould
2002–2004
Coach
 
New South Wales State of Origin

2005
Succeeded by
Graham Murray
2006–2007