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Ricky reveals bitter family history behind ‘weak-gutted dog’ sledge as NRL investigates

Ricky Stuart has apologised for calling Penrith five eighth Jaeman Salmon a ‘weak-gutted dog’ and revealed there was history between his son and Salmon stretching back to 2010.

After Salmon’s alleged kick on Raiders hooker Tom Starling on Saturday night, Stuart fumed: “I know that kid well. He was a weak-gutted dog as a kid and he hasn’t changed now. He’s a weak-gutted dog person now.”

Salmon was penalised for a kick to the nether regions of Starling, though replays were inconclusive regarding how deliberate the act was. Referee Grant Atkins put the incident on report.

“I can’t imagine Jaeman would have deliberately done that,” said Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. “I didn’t even see it. I don’t think I need to respond to those comments”

“I regret saying what I did on that platform after the game,” Stuart said in a statement on Sunday. “I was speaking as a father and not as a football coach.

“My reaction was to a family situation that I thought I had dealt with, clearly I haven’t. I allowed my emotions to get the better of me and for that I am very sorry.

“There is a history between Jaeman Salmon and my family that I will not go into. I should not have brought it up after the game, but it just got the better of me.

“I am truly sorry that I have caused my family and the game unwarranted attention.”

The Herald reported the Panthers were looking at their legal avenues on behalf of Salmon, who was said to be “rattled” by Stuart’s comments.

The NRL Integrity unit is investigating.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed that the NRL Integrity Unit was looking into the comments.

“It’s a disappointing situation,” Abdo told the Herald.

“This happened last night and everyone deserves due process. We will get all the facts before making a decision.”

In the game, Penrith put a massive dent in Canberra’s finals hopes with a hard-fought 26-6 victory at GIO Stadium, all but confirming their Minor Premiership in the process.

The Raiders needed to win to keep pace with the Sydney Roosters in the fight for 8th place, but were unable to break down a resolute Penrith rearguard and will now need results elsewhere to go their way to stand a chance of making the finals.

With four games to play and a lead of six points over the Cowboys, the top spot on the ladder is nearly mathematically certain for Cleary’s men.

It was a depleted Penrith side, with Nathan Cleary suspended and Jarome Luai and Viliame Kikau injured, but their fundamentals of defensive organisation and strong running from the back went nowhere.

Neither did Edwards, who was best on ground in his 100th NRL game. His ball-running and ability to nullify attacking kicks were as good as ever, but this fixture was defined by his toughness. Time and again, Edwards was wiped out by tackling – some legal, some not – and simply got up and carried on.

The new halves pairing of Sean O’Sullivan and Salmon made the most of their opportunities when they came, and leaned heavily on experienced heads like Api Koroisau and Isaah Yeo, who lead from the front and moved the side around.

Canberra can only have themselves to blame. They had over 40 tackles in the opposition 20m zone and managed to cross just once. Jack Wighton, around whom the attack always revolves, was marshalled tightly throughout and struggled to get going.

The teams traded early tries that owed as much to poor defence as good attack. Josh Papali’i got over the top on a crashover that Fisher-Harris might want back, but within three minutes, Koroisau snuck through soft tackling on the Raiders line.

The handling then departed both sides, with a run of errors that belied the quality on display. Stephen Crichton edged Penrith further in front with a penalty goal, before O’Sullivan slipped a kick through for the centre to ground.

The game hadn’t quite come alive, but was sparked into life on the half-hour mark. Tapine, so influential for Canberra, came away from an innocuous-looking tackle holding his ribs.

He was replaced by Ryan Sutton, who lasted just one play after he was caught high by Fisher-Harris. The English prop left with a concussion, his Kiwi counterpart got ten minutes.

On his return, he was replaced in the bin by Nick Cotric, who hit Edwards high. The fullback bounced up, dusted himself off and within five minutes, was celebrating after adding the final tough to a sweeping long range move to extend the lead.

The Panthers were then forced into a long period of defence, but Canberra were unable to trouble them at all. It was hardly a banner night for the Raiders, who consistently failed to get good ball to Wighton when they needed their star man to make his impact.

It was inevitable that, having turned Canberra away so many time, Penrith would score the next time they went up the field. They dutifully did, with Salmon able to spot a gap in the line and get himself over for what would prove to be the knockout blow.

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