Ricky Stuart was less than impressed with Ben Ikin’s comments. Photo: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson
Ricky Stuart was less than impressed with Ben Ikin’s comments. Photo: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson

Ricky Stuart slams Ben Ikin after Hudson Young ban

ANGRY Canberra coach Ricky Stuart labelled critics of Hudson Young "vicious" after the Raiders forward was suspended for eight games at an highly charged NRL judiciary hearing on Tuesday night.

Stuart was furious with rugby league commentators - primarily form Broncos playmaker Ben Ikin - who he claimed have "sarcastically questioned my integrity and attacked my character".

Young was found guilty of a dangerous contact charge after eye-gouging Warriors forward Adam Pompey last weekend.

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Late Tuesday night after hearing the verdict, Stuart launched at extraordinary attack on former players who demanded Young be banned from anything between six months to more than a year.

Stuart said: "I'm confused with some of the characters that our broadcasters employ who have viciously attacked Hudson Young. They have forgotten their past very quickly."

Stuart then took aim at  former North SydneyBears, Brisbane and Gold Coast player Ikin, who remarked that "Ricky Stuart's said it's not an eye gouge'' on Fox League's NRL 360.

"I cop the judiciary verdict but don't agree with it. And I don't appreciate Ben Ikin on Fox Sports sarcastically questioning my integrity saying in a jovial manner that Ricky Stuart believes that Hudson Young didn't eye gouge Pompey," Stuart said.

Hudson Young with his lawyer Nick Ghabar at the NRL judiciary. Photo: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi
Hudson Young with his lawyer Nick Ghabar at the NRL judiciary. Photo: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi

"I would not support Hudson if I thought he eye gouged Pompey.

"Ben Ikin needs to do his research as a journalist - something he is lacking in remembering that the last time Hudson had this issue (an eye gouge on Canterbury's Aidan Tolman earlier this season) I showed no remorse or support for his actions.

"I'm an honest bloke and Ikin tried to play the 'coach looking after his player' card which I believe from his so called standing in the game is unprofessional in attacking my character."

When informed of Stuart's spray Ikin chose not to comment.

Young was gutted, saying: "I'm disappointed but accept my punishment and have to learn from it."

A one-word slip-up from a New Zealand star witness also inadvertently helped bury Young.

Young was staunch in his denial of the charge throughout the hearing with Pompey called to give evidence from Auckland via video link. Pompey gave a series of one-word answers strongly denying he was eye gouged by Young.

But the circuit breaker came at the end of Pompey's evidence when NRL counsel Peter McGrath asked whether he lived by the time-honoured player theory of 'what happens on the field, stays on the field?'

Pompey replied: "Yeah."

McGrath quickly thanked Pompey and the video link ended.

Adam Pompey‘s testimony was unclear. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Adam Pompey‘s testimony was unclear. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Young, who was referred directly to the panel, was adamant he did not make contact with Pompey's eyes.

"I was trying to grab anything to prevent the try and hold him up," Young said.

"I felt I grabbed his face and (then) slipped off his face. I had to get my hand under there as fast as I could to try and allow enough time for Nick (Cotric, Canberra teammate) to hold him up.

"I could feel contact with his face and tried to rip my hand out as fast as I could. My fingers were stuck together (with tape) and I couldn't really straighten them. I felt his face and pulled away as soon as I felt it.

"I never felt his eye or eye socket. I was doing my best to save the try. I'd know if I had someone in the eye."

In cross examination, NRL counsel Peter McGrath asked: "Did you get a grip of Pompey's eye socket?

Young: "At no point did I feel his eyes."

Pompey denied Young touched his eyes.

Young's counsel Nick Ghabar: Was there pressure on your eyes?

Pompey: "No."

Gharbar: Did you have any pain in your eyes?

Pompey: "Nup."

Gharbar: Did you feel any fingers in your eye?

Pompey: "Nup. I didn't feel anything at all. I felt people on me."

News Corp Australia

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