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When the complaints begin to come from those up north it can only mean one thing – it’s Finals time.

Eels coach Brad Arthur used his post-game press conference on Friday night to say his side needed to be “allowed to play a little bit of football,” suggested they should not be illegally restricted around the ruck.

Such comments are nothing new from teams playing Melbourne at this time of the year.

As Craig Bellamy put it, “it’s the same song, just a different singer”.

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Plenty of mind games are played at this stage of the season and this latest version is just the newest installment.

“It is fair game in terms of adding a bit of spice and a bit of drama around it all,” Cooper Cronk said.

“At the end of the day whether Brad says something or Craig says something to return serve, the officials do a tremendous job and they will do a tremendous job on Saturday afternoon.

“I have absolute faith that if either team steps over the edge, the referees will deal with it.

“Because it’s finals does it get more airtime to try and influence people? It is all gamesmanship as far as I’m concerned. That won’t play a part come game day.”

Melbourne will go head-to-head with Parramatta in a Qualifying Final at AAMI Park this Saturday at 4.10pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.