Ricky Stuart is known for ripping into the match officials during his post-match press conferences, but it was a member of the coach’s red-hot Raiders who felt his wrath after Saturday night’s game.
The Raiders outclassed the Titans at Kogarah’s Nestrata Jubilee Stadium, 20-4.
It was a strong showing from the Green Machine, but the coach was less than impressed by Jordan Rapana’s decision to use the side’s captain’s challenge on a penalty late in the piece.
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Up 14-4 with just over 20 minutes to play, the Raiders used their captain’s challenge after Rapana was penalised for obstructing Titans winger Anthony Don.
Close to the Raiders’ line, Titans youngster Tanah Boyd put a kick up for the high-flying Don, but Rapana stood his ground, eyed the Titan up and bumped him to the turf.
Fox League commentators Andrew Voss and Braith Anasta were quick to side with referee Adam Gee and agree that a penalty was appropriate.
“Watch Rapana take him out before he has a chance. He eyes him and he takes him out, has no eyes for the footy at all. It was a bit of an AFL play from Rapana,” Anasta said with a laugh.
“He’s not challenging this, the prosecution is already resting on their case,” added Voss in disbelief.
Ricky’s Raiders bounced back from their round three loss on Saturday.Source:Getty Images
To no one’s surprise, Rapana’s challenge was unsuccessful and Stuart was quick to rub it in after the game.
He explained Rapana’s teammates “Jack (Wighton) and Toots (Jarrod Croker) both said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it’ and he told them what he thought and Toots said, ‘Well you’ve got me convinced, mate’.”
When asked whether the captain’s challenge was a tactical effort to give his teammates a breather, Stuart smiled and said: “I don’t know if Raps understands what tactical means.”
Stuart laughed off suggestions that Rapana might be banned from making captain’s challenges in future, clearly seeing the lighter side of the late-game shocker.
Rapana may have had the last laugh, though — the fast-finishing Raider scored his 74th try for the club in Saturday night’s game, equalling Mal Meninga as Canberra’s fifth-highest try scorer of all time.
The Raiders will be put to the test on Friday night when they face the first-placed Panthers at BlueBet Stadium.
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