Ricky Stuart, punishment, press conference comments, Canberra Raiders, Penrith Panthers, Jaeman Salmon, Phil Gould

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Phil Gould says it’s natural for people to be inquisitive about the motivation behind Ricky Stuart’s startling “weak-gutted dog person” takedown of young Panther Jaeman Salmon.

But the rugby league icon has implored for the history behind the verbal assault to remain private, insisting “it’s not going to be healthy”.

The NRL is set to deal Stuart a punishment — likely a two-game ban, according to Nine’s Danny Weidler — after the Raiders coach attacked Salmon in an explosive post-match press conference on Saturday.

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When Stuart was asked about an incident involving Salmon in the Raiders’ loss to the Panthers, in which the five-eighth kicked Tom Starling in the groin, the veteran coach unloaded.

It’s since been revealed that Stuart remains incensed by an incident during a 2010 junior rugby league match, in which Salmon and Stuart’s son were playing.

Weidler believes the icy history between Stuart and Salmon extends beyond that match.

But Gould stressed on Nine’s 100% Footy that the sensitive past must remain a secret.

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“Naturally, people will be curious now as to what motivated it and why Ricky snapped the way he did — and he did snap,” Gould said.

“He said (to me), ‘I didn’t know that was going to come out at all’. It wasn’t pre-meditated, but the sheer mention of his name brought back bad memories and all of a sudden the words were out before he could take them back.

Raiders boss condemns Stuart comments

“I am way too close to this situation to be making comment publicly about it.

“Whatever the decision of the NRL, naturally people and the media are going to be very curious as to what motivated it, what was the history. Everyone’s going to try to delve for that story.

“And let me tell you: that’s not going to do anyone any good whatsoever.

“So, I would hope that with the NRL decision … for which Ricky is quite ready and prepared for whatever decision comes — I would like to think that is the end of it and no one else opens their mouth.”

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Cameron Smith, who was coached by Stuart in the Kangaroos set-up, agreed with Gould.

Ricky apologises for Salmon outburst

“Private matters should stay private, anyway, shouldn’t they?” the Storm legend said on 100% Footy.

“Don’t you think? It’s separate to rugby league.”

Smith also said he was “shocked” by Stuart’s comments and the Canberra mentor had “crossed the line”.

“It’s not going to be healthy for anyone for that history, which was a while ago, to be coming out now and people wanting to delve into that and read into things that shouldn’t be there, and it’s not going to be good for the people that are involved,” Gould added.

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