League: Carr denies sour grapes

Australian Rugby League boss Geoff Carr says he pulled the plug on the presentation of runners-up medals to the Kangaroos late in the World Cup final because "it's just never done".

Australia were accused of snubbing the ceremony following their shock 20-34 loss to New Zealand last Saturday in Brisbane when they declined to receive their medals on the dais despite the presentation being scheduled by organisers.

"We just don't do it," Carr said today.

"One of the things about getting beat is that you've got to stay out there and respect the winners.

"The winners are entitled to receive the accolades, to receive the presentation.

"If we do give something to losers we've always given it in the dressing room.

"It's just what we've always done.

"It's no good parading them as the losers, because that's what it is, it's a loser's medal."

Carr, though, was at pains to point out the decision was not made by the devastated players or coaching staff.

"Those players didn't know that they had to get on the dais, they didn't know that was in the running sheet, they don't know any of that," Carr said.

"I can't see why everyone that I talk to is trying to hang the players for something they knew nothing about."

"(Captain) Darren (Lockyer) certainly got up so there was no snub. The boys were out on the field where they would normally be."

Carr released a statement earlier today saying a runners-up presentation would not have been "in keeping with traditional post-test presentations ... regardless of who had won".

But he admitted to making the decision as it became clear Australia were about to become the victims of one of the great sporting boilovers.

"It was clearly towards the end of the match," he said.

"I was down on the sideline and they were talking about the losers' presentation and I said, `Darren will say something and the players will be out there respecting the winner'.

"We don't present losers in grand finals, we don't present losers at (State of) Origin, we don't present losers at anything on the dais, it's just never done."

Carr said he had not spotted the presentation on the final's running sheet.

"I'm not running the World Cup, the World Cup is," he said.

He denied his action could contribute to a "sore losers" tag for Australia, whose coach Ricky Stuart is already under fire for allegedly abusing referee Ashley Klein at the team hotel.

"It's not perceived as sour grapes," Carr said.

"I was more than gracious with everyone, I couldn't have thanked any more people from New Zealand."

Meanwhile, Carr has also attempted to hose down the controversy over the naming of Lockyer as the final's man of the match.

"The man of the match selectors were given an opportunity to recast their votes in the closing stages of the match but did not wish to do so," he said.

Media reports had suggested the panel was refused the chance to backtrack on a decision made 10 minutes before fulltime.


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