Ricky Stuart was a broken man fronting the media after Canberra’s demoralising loss to Melbourne, walking out on his press conference after only one question.
The Storm pumped the Raiders 30-10 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane as Cameron Smith pulled the strings to orchestrate another grand final appearance for the men in purple.
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A shell-shocked Green Machine conceded three tries in the opening 10 minutes as they failed to match the Storm’s intensity from the outset. Melbourne made easy metres, found space when they shifted to the edges and brushed past Canberra defenders with ease and Stuart’s troops never recovered.
It’s more heartbreak for the Raiders, who were desperate for redemption after losing last year’s grand final to the Roosters.
Stuart was devastated — but brutally honest — when he fronted reporters after full-time.
“The first 25 minutes we had no footy, we didn’t defend well,” Stuart said. “Four tries to nil was really disappointing because were passive in defence — we didn’t start well, it was not us.
“I can handle the loss, I can understand the loss but I’m just really disappointed that we didn’t have one of our better games tonight. That was the disappointing part of it from a coaching point of view.
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Ricky Stuart couldn’t explain why his side started so poorly.Source:Getty Images
“It was a game that, as a coach, disappoints you because you know you’re better than that.
“But Melbourne did a really good job, they did a wonderful job using the weight of possession they had and to our character and the resilience that is in the team, we hung in there and tried to turn it around but Melbourne just wouldn’t let us and it made it a tough night.
“I’m very proud of where we got to. I’m disappointed to not go one step further because I think we were better than we showed tonight.
“You can’t take it for granted in getting to this position in the season because you fight so hard to get here and put so much work in … and for us to let ourselves down like that in the first 25 minutes is the disappointing part.
“I can handle the loss but I genuinely wish Craig (Bellamy) and Cameron and their team all the best for next week.”
As a reporter started to ask the second question, Stuart said “cheers”, stood up and walked out, clearly too hurt to continue the post-mortem.
All up his press conference lasted a tick over two minutes.
Melbourne will face the winner of tonight’s game between Penrith and South Sydney in next Sunday’s grand final.
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