Stuart slams McClennan over media snub - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart slams McClennan over media snub

By Steve Jancetic 19/04/2007 08:02:01 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart launched a stunning attack on New Zealand counterpart Brian McClennan after the Kiwis snubbed a scheduled media call in favour of haka training.

Stuart and several ARL and Rugby League International Federation officials were left red-faced by the no-show, with the Australian coach accusing McClennan of thinking himself as bigger than the game.

The press conference had been organised to not only promote Friday night's Test match between the two countries at Suncorp Stadium but also to announce Brisbane as the host of the 2008 World Cup Final.

"I think he's got to understand the game's bigger than one person, he gets his little event once a year and wants to create a scene," Stuart said.

"He's got to understand that the scene he's trying to create is nowhere near as important as a press conference for our centenary year and our hosting of the rugby league world.

"He's got to understand that these type of functions and the game itself are a lot more important than him.

"I didn't even know he wasn't here (at first) - that's how much his little stunt meant to me."

McClennan said he had told officials he would endeavour to make the appointment, but claimed his first commitment was preparing his side for the match.

"We were going to try our best (to get there) but because we hadn't finished our training we couldn't," McClennan said.

"I've got to get this team prepared for this Test tomorrow night. If the boys finished in time, of course I would have gone.

"As it was it went on and we had do haka practice at the end of training, we haven't managed to do that because of the short week.

"I wouldn't disrespect the international game and snub a do - I think it's poor form that that's what's been indicated.

"Getting prepared for this Test match shows how much respect we have for this Anzac Test.

"We've stuck steadfast to our schedule out of courtesy to other people, we haven't changed a thing."

Questioned about the motives behind the personal attack from Stuart, McClennan declined to go on the attack.

"That's not my style, that's just Ricky," McClennan said.

"I don't know Ricky Stuart and I'm not intending to get to know him."

The Kiwi camp is believed to be privately fuming after the Australians made several changes to their schedule throughout the week, many of which clashed with New Zealand arrangements.

ARL chairman Colin Love said he would speak with New Zealand officials over the non-appearance, with Love and RILF boss Richard Lewis called on to fill the empty seats at the press conference.

"I'm surprised because I read some comments from Brian McClennan in the paper this morning that the ARL weren't doing enough to support international football," Love said.

"It was my understanding they were coming."

McClennan wasn't the only one to feel the wrath of Stuart with New Zealand backrower Frank Pritchard also copping a serve.

Pritchard had said the Kiwis were on the cusp of a period of dominance in international football after the New Zealand team took on a more youthful look following the retirement of influential trio Nigel Vagana, Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones.

But Stuart was less than impressed.

"Every time he gets a black jumper he comes out says something," Stuart said.

"It's important for him now to put it on the football field as well."

The kick-off for Friday night's Test has been moved back by 20 minutes to 7:50pm (AEST).

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