Melbourne Storm's new chairman has labelled attacks on the club's style of play as "tall poppy syndrome north of the border", saying Cameron Smith and the rest of the team are not treated differently by referees.
Via: Adam Pengilly / SMH.
Matt Tripp wasted no time launching a passionate defence of the Immortal-in-waiting, who has again been accused of wielding influence over whistleblowers.
Tripp and the Storm will give Smith time to decide whether he will play a 20th season of NRL next year, but the chairman's immediate concern was defending the reputation of the game's most-capped player.
"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 said. "At least it would confirm all we've assumed over the last few years.
"We play within the confines of the rule. I look at the Newcastle game and, if we want to talk about the tackle recount or six-again rule, Newcastle had five or six and we had one [last week].
"In terms of treatment I don't think we were treated any differently in the eyes of the referee. He just refereed the game in accordance with what he was seeing and not these made-up tactics we seem to get labelled with any time we win a game.
"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."