The lead-up to Saturday's grudge match between the Storm and the Sea Eagles has intensified with Craig Bellamy leaping to the defence of skipper Cameron Smith following comments from Manly great Max Krilich.
After taking aim at Smith in a recent Sowwow with Powwow podcast on NRL.com, Krilich criticised the Storm captain again earlier this week.
He argued that Smith didn't play in the spirit of the game and his relationship with referees meant he got away with too much.
But Bellamy has hit back at Krilich's claims by indicating the former Manly hooker is acting as a puppet for long-time sparring partner and current Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler.
"It's basically the same old song for this time of year, but with a different singer," Bellamy said on Friday at the Storm's legends lunch that brought together premiership players from their successful 1999 and 2009 sides.
Storm v Sea Eagles – Round 19
"I don't know if Des has been backstage singing and Max has been on stage.
"I don't like to be disrespectful to ex-players, so I am not going to say too much about it.
"But Max played the same position as Cameron and perhaps there is a little bit of personal jealousy there."
Bellamy said Smith has a good relationship with referees and his actions during games are no different to other captains in the NRL.
"He has got a good relationship with referees and that is probably the thing," he said.
"They have a chat every now and then during a game, but most captains do that these days.
"As long as the referees are happy with what we are doing, that's all that matters.
"There's a bit of personal and professional jealousy, so I am not sure why he would come out and say that."
While the off-field battle has dominated the headlines in the lead-up to Saturday night's clash, Bellamy has been focused on ensuring the Storm extend their nine-game win streak.
Bellamy said his team will need to play the full 80 minutes if they are to claim the two points and is wary of a fired-up Sea Eagles.
"The Sea Eagles are playing really well and they have got a big powerful team," Bellamy noted.
"Daly [Cherry-Evans] and Jake [Trbojevic] are both wonderful ballplayers and they have a wonderful knowledge of the game besides how well they play physically.
"Their big bodies with quick play the balls is a real strongpoint of their game."