Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has defended Hudson Young after the Raiders forward was involved in another incident where he appeared to make contact with an opposition player’s eye in a tackle.
Young was suspended for five matches in June on a dangerous contact charge after making contact with the eye of Canterbury’s Aidan Tolman, and he could have another case to answer this week.
Footage appeared to show Young’s hand touching the face of Adam Pompey as the Warriors winger scored in the 30th minute of the visitors’ 24-20 win over Canberra at GIO Stadium.
“I know he didn’t gouge the kid,” Stuart said of the incident.
“But there was a hand on the face from what I’ve seen on the video
“Again, it’s something I have to look at again to get clearer version of it.”
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said it “didn’t look good” when asked about the incident post-match, with Stuart hoping for clemency if Young is charged.
“It reminds me of the Josh McGuire incidents where he got fined,” Stuart said.
“I went straight to [Young after the game] and asked him if it was a gouge and he’d spoken to the other player.
“If it was an eye-gouge, look I don’t condone any of this, but if it was an eye gouge the kid [Pompey] would reel out of it but he didn’t.”
Young’s incident added to what was far from an ideal way for the Raiders to finish their regular season.
Mistakes in attack, uncharacteristic lapses in defence plus a shoulder injury to Michael Oldfield and knee complaint for Corey Horsburgh made it a miserable afternoon for the Raiders.
The loss puts Canberra on a collision course with minor premiers Melbourne, as the sides resume their rivalry from round 22 when the Raiders claimed arguably their best win of the season so far.
“That will have them even more ready, I know what Craig [Bellamy] is like,” Stuart said.
“So that will be certainly a big part of their preparation, but we have to go and perform at AAMI [Park].”
Defensively the Raiders were not at their usual high standard on Saturday, as demonstrated by Blake Green’s try to seal the win in the 76th minute when he coasted through the Canberra line to score almost untouched.
“That’s a big disappointment, how they scored,” Stuart said.
“We had a goal this year to be the number one defensive team in the competition and we weren’t.
“I was disappointed with aspects our play today, not all just defence, there was a couple of times we let them off the hook with the football.
“So, we’ve still got room to improve but that was a young football team I put out there today in a number of positions and they’ll learn from that.
“If I call upon them going into a semi-final they will be better off for having played today and learning what the scenario was.”
Stuart said the rested trio of John Bateman, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jordan Rapana and Sia Soliola would be named in the side to play Melbourne next week, while Joe Tapine (ribs) is still in some doubt.