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Sport 'I'm sorry if I offended': Sticky's wry netball apology

10:15  14 may  2021
10:15  14 may  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has apologised for offending the netball community, over comments he made insinuating the sport was not "tough".

a close up of Ricky Stuart: Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. © Getty Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Netballers say the veteran coach should be ashamed for his behaviour, after he suggested NRL mentors "might as well be coaching netball if they can't have tough conversations" with their players.

"I respect netball. I'm sorry if I offended any girl or boy that plays netball. All sports are tough. I understand that," Stuart said at a press conference ahead of Magic Round.

"As [former manager] John Fordham once said to me, 'Mate, any publicity is good publicity, as long as they're spelling your name right'.

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"I hope netball take it as good publicity for them."

Stuart said he "had a laugh about it" speaking on the netball comment uproar with "some journalists" last night.

"I respect all sports and it was an off-the-cuff comment," he said.

NRL 360 host Paul Kent was quoting Stuart over reports of fractured relationships with some of his Raiders players when the offending line about netball was shared.

"As Ricky said to me - if I can't have tough conversations with my better players I might as well coach netball," Kent said on Fox Sports on Wednesday night.

The comments have sparked outrage from Australian netball players.

NSW Swifts player Sophie Garbin said "it was disappointing".


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"It's 2021, and comments like this are still getting said about women in general," the 24-year-old said.

"There's no real need for it. The fact that he said it was one (thing) but the fact that no-one has pulled him up on it in the moment is even worse.

"Netball deserves respect. We've got over a million girls playing and to get to the top level, it's really tough."

https://twitter.com/NSWSwifts/status/1392446459153317899?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

This is the latest controversy for the Raiders – with the team making headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past two weeks.

Earlier this week, former player John Bateman accused the club of leaking information about internal problems, saying he believed there were people within the camp trying to undermine the players.

"It had to be someone in the back room, or someone who knew what happened in the conversations," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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"I had a conversation with Ricky before and he told me it wasn't him... I asked him where all these stories were coming from."

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It comes after rumours last week star player Josh Hodgson had a heated exchange with Stuart over his performance, where the hooker stepped down from his co-captaincy role with no explanation.

Four days earlier, Joe Tapine's wife took a swipe at Stuart on social media for leaving her husband on the bench.

There were also reports English halfback George Williams is homesick.

The Raiders are currently going through a rough patch, contributed by key players out with injuries and others being benched for underperforming.

The Green Machine may turn that around though when they go head-to-head with the Bulldogs in Brisbane tomorrow, after losing their fifth game to the Newcastle Knights last weekend, pushing the side to 12th position on the ladder.

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