Former dual international half back with the Kangaroos and Wallabies. State of Origin legend as both a player and coach for the NSW Blues. Recipient of the Dally M Player & Coach of the Year awards and current head coach of the Canberra Raiders.
Ricky Stuart enjoys a unique status in rugby league as player and coach.
In 1993, during his illustrious playing career with the Canberra Raiders, he won the prestigious Dally M Player of the Year award. And 13 years later, as head coach of the resurgent Canberra Raiders, he was crowned Dally M Coach of the Year making it a double honour he now exclusively holds by himself.
Stuart was one of rugby league’s finest on field performers during a star-studded career that saw him scale the dizzy heights of the game.
In 2018, his illustrious career was further recognised when he was named in the NRL Hall of Fame.
Since transferring his talents to coaching in 2001, the former Test halfback, rated by Rugby League Week in the game’s top 30 players between 1978 and 2008, has established an equally commanding reputation. He joined the Raiders at the end of the 2013 season following coaching stints with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and Parramatta Eels.
A superstar during the 1990s, Stuart created history in 2002 when he took the Sydney Roosters to premiership honours in his first season as a senior NRL coach. For the Bondi Junction club, it was the first time in 27 years it had tasted grand final success. A few months later, the Stuart-coached Roosters thrashed English champions St Helens 38-0 in the World Cup Challenge.
And just to prove his coaching success in 2002 was no flash in the pan, Stuart got the Roosters to the NRL grand final in the next two years as well, only to see them disappointingly falter on the big day.
His coaching achievements in such a short space of time obviously didn’t go unnoticed among the game’s powerbrokers, leading to his appointments as coach of the NSW Country Origin team in 2004 and the NSW State of Origin team for the 2005 series.
Following NSW’s 2-1 Origin success, Stuart coached the Australian Kangaroos from 2006 to 2008. He celebrated his first year as national coach with a one-off Test victory over New Zealand in Brisbane and winning the Tri-Nations championship. Australia’s gripping 16-12 win over the Kiwis in the final helped erase memories of the Kangaroos 24-0 loss to New Zealand in the 2005 Tri-Nations final.
The coach of the Year in the NSW Sports Awards in 2002, Stuart was a rugby union international before switching to league with the Canberra Raiders in 1998. His precocious halfback talents were first identified at St Edmunds College in Canberra and his appointment of captain of the 1985 Australian Schoolboys stamped him as a player with a big future.
By 1987 he was ready for international exposure and that came on the Wallabies tour of Argentina.
Three years later he starred on the Kangaroos tour of England and France when he was significantly instrumental in securing a 2-1 Ashes victory. Four years later (in 1994) his influence was again dominant as the Mal Meninga-led Australians retained the Ashes by the same margin.
On the representative front, Stuart played nine rugby league Tests for his country, 14 State of Origin matches for the NSW Blues, made two Kangaroo tours and one World Cup tour to Great Britain and starred in four NSW State of Origin series victories. Stuart made a successful return to playing in 1998 after a serious illness threatened his future, and his life.
After 11 seasons and 203 first-grade matches in Canberra’s colours, Stuart in 1999 moved to the Canterbury Bulldogs. When a serious knee injury brought his career to a dramatic end in Auckland on May 20, 2000, he had played 40 first-grade matches for the Bulldogs. During his entire first-grade rugby league career, Stuart scored 205 points (41 tries, 27 field goals, seven goals).
Stuart’s trophy cabinet groans from the weight of numerous awards.
Holding pride of place are his three premiership medals as a player with the Canberra Raiders (1989, 1990 and 1994) and, as a coach, the Jersey Flegg premiership with the Canterbury Bulldogs (2001) and, with the Sydney Roosters, the NRL premiership (2002), World Cup Challenge (2003), Team of the Year in the NSW Sports Awards (2003) and NRL minor premiership (2004). Individual honours include several Test and State of Origin man-of-the-match awards, the Clive Churchill Medal as the best-and-fairest player in Canberra’s 1990 grand final victory over Penrith, Dally M Player of the Year and Rothmans Medal winner in 1993, Dally M Coach of the Year in 2016 and NRL Hall of Fame inductee in 2018. In 2018, Stuart was one the first inductees in the Canberra Raiders Hall of Fame.
He is contracted as Canberra Raiders Head Coach until the end of the 2020 season.
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We wanted to secure Ricky in the hope that he may have more depth in his message not just football stories or motivational stories. When we briefed Ricky we asked to give guidance if he was in real estate on how to increase my average salespersons numbers through teamwork and increasing self image of my salespeople. We also asked if he had any practical actions that we could take away to implement into the team so his talk had a lasting impact. We found that Ricky was terrific about being able to adapt to our industry and what we are going to achieve. He spoke for well over time and not once did he not have my teams 100% attention. He was able to related practical examples of what has made him successful at building teams at club, state and international levels and how they could apply to us. He spoke very passionately about being honest with yourself and was the perfect example of that with how open and honest he was about things that were challenges to him. I have had several comments from the team surprised how open he was about things that he would handle differently. He was able to not only meet our expectation but definitely exceeded them in communicating the message that I wanted my team to hear. Lastly he has given us several actions that we have taken back into the business. We feel very lucky to be able to implant similar actions into our business that has made some of his teams so successful. Only weeks after listening to Ricky speak I can see the impact he has made on some of the individuals in our team. We look forward to continually implementing more of his structure and increasing our results from that.
We were looking for a speaker that could be inspirational, honest and relate sporting achievements to business results. Ricky exceeded our expectations. The 160 people in the room were completely engaged during the presentation with lots of interaction and questions from the audience. Ricky was able to translate sporting team moments into a business context and how to achieve results working as a team. To have this “personal coaching” from one of the game’s greatest coaches was very compelling for the audience. I would recommend Ricky to any organisation that is serious about building a high performance culture – his ability to connect with the audience was fantastic.
Tim Doyle – Ray Wright
LG’s association with the LG Sharks with regards to sponsorship has mainly been a relationship with senior manager from both organisations. However it has been refreshing and inspiring to have an icon such as Ricky Stuart, enter the board room from the field to share with us in a variety of forums his knowledge, passion and experiences from various arenas spanning from athletic psychological theories and preparations, to mental strategies towards working as a united team and team building preparations that we have been fortunate enough to dissect and analyse and attribute them to our corporate working methods and company team building strategies. Ricky has dedicated his time to our corporate teams as a motivational speaker,whereby he has shared his vast array of experiences in coaching, leading and mentoring, enlightening us with some valuable and interesting scenarios that we are able to transpose into some of our sales and marketing strategies. Ricky has a down to earth and a professional attitude which he exudes with his interactions with our organisation. Taking his role as a team coach and corporate player very seriously and his dedication to our requirements is always appreciated.
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