Paul Kent, co-host of NRL360, gave the Melbourne Storm a reality check on comments from his skipper Cameron Smith.
The veteran hooker claimed in a Fairfax interview that “outside noise” came from the Sydney media to the storm to win last year’s grand finale.
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The storm’s defensive tactics were brought into focus through a dossier prepared by the late Souths chief Shane Richardson.
It came on the basis of a nasty clash between Storm and Rabbitohs at Central Coast Stadium, where Melbourne escaped sanctions because of some questionable wrestling maneuvers.
Smith claimed it was the same old story this time around, with the veteran suggesting that the excitement over Max King’s hip-drop tackle and the future was publicized by both himself and coach Craig Bellamy to take the storm destabilize.
He suggested that this was why the storm narrowed and lost the preliminary final to the Roosters, who won the competition last time.
SMITH: Storm Skipper blames the media for the failure of the final and denies the “secret” of retirement
But that was turned back by Kent on NRL360, who suggested Melbourne had to toughen up.
“I don’t think you live in the real world, Melbourne,” Kent said.
“I think they were lucky to live in Melbourne, an AFL town, and they don’t get the rugby league coverage that the Brisbane Broncos, Wests Tigers or Canterbury Bulldogs get.
“If they get a bit of media attention – and last year, legitimate, justified media attention – that they can’t handle, it’s up to them.
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“For example, Cameron said in today’s interview that there was no timeframe that he was hoping to talk to Craig Bellamy about what was going to happen to his future sometime this year, but they never got around to it. Well we know for a fact that Craig Bellamy asked him and Cameron laughed at it and said ‘I haven’t made a decision yet’.
“Craig Bellamy went up to him and tried to get an idea of what he was thinking and he put it this way so as not to offend him: ‘We need to know what you are doing because if this is going to be your last year, we want to celebrate it appropriately ”. Cameron laughed at this and walked away. So I would call that Fib.
“The other thing they complained about was the campaign that they say is brought up by the media in Sydney every year. Is it the chicken or the egg? Do tackles gain weight during certain times of the year? Or is the media campaign working? You can argue in both directions. ”
In the interview, Smith also discussed his own future gambling. The 37-year-old hooker has yet to decide whether she will continue playing in 2021.
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Outside of the contract, Smith has been linked with moves to the Titans and Broncos.
He could also withdraw from the game or stay with the Storm.
It’s a tough spot for Melbourne to find its way around as they have aspiring hooker Harry Grant and Kiwi test hooker Brandon Smith itchy to take on the role of veteran rake on a permanent basis.
Kent said Smith was dishonest about his future, saying there was no way the younger hookers dare to rush the former Australian captain to a decision.
“The other thing he also mentioned and said it wasn’t a distraction was that Harry Grant and Brandon Smith, neither of them, came up to him and asked him what he was doing next year, so it wasn’t so… distraction for them, ”added Kent.
“In what world would Harry Grant go after him with all 15 games and say, ‘For God’s sake, Cameron, tell me what you are doing so I can fix my future!’
“Please, it’s delusional. Even Brandon Smith – Brandon Smith doesn’t have the guts to walk up to Cameron and say, ‘Buddy, can you hurry up and make a decision so I know what I’m doing?’ His manager came out and said if Cameron kept playing they could request a release, Harry Grant has a clause in his contract that says he can request a release.
“So if you want to do an interview, be honest.”
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