Storm’s irate response to Smith vendetta
Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp has lambasted criticism of Cameron Smith, taking umbrage with suggestions the Victorian side gets the rub of the green from referees.
Regularly accused of having too much sway over NRL officials, Smith has been under more scrutiny since the game reverted to a one-referee system.
Tripp says the criticism is out of line and nothing more than a vendetta.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
"It's been happening for a number of years and I would rather certain people come out and say, 'I have a distinct hatred for the Melbourne Storm'," Tripp was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. "At least it would confirm all we've assumed over the last few years.
"Usually you can set your watch to it - about a month out from finals, they come for us. It's happened early this season and it's something we're just going to have to put up with. We've always put up with it when tall poppy syndrome kicks in north of the border."
Melbourne will play Penrith on Friday and Smith's opposite number, Api Korisau, brushed off talk the veteran was acting as a "pocket referee" during the Storm's win over Newcastle.
Koroisau says he's up for the challenge of measuring himself against the former Kangaroos No. 9 in their round-six clash at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
Captain Smith, who turns 37 today, has come under fire this week for acting as a "pocket referee", barking at whistleblower Ben Cummins to blow penalties in their win over Newcastle.
But Koroisau had nothing but admiration for Smith's football smarts. "It's his footy IQ - he's not the fastest or the strongest bloke but the decision he makes are second to none," Koroisau said on Wednesday.
"He's always putting the ball in the right spot and he knows how to control the game - slow it down or speed it up - and he holds his own in defence.
"Just his attack - he seems to be able to tell the boys where to go and execute when he needs to so he's hard to defend.
"You've got to give him respect but not too much time."
Koroisau, who switched to the Panthers this season from Manly, said while Smith was a natural he believed football IQ could be taught.
"You can definitely learn that craft but he's taken it to completely new levels."
Originally published as Storm's irate response to Smith vendetta