The Storm have been accused of having a “chip on their shoulder” after the club blew up over claims they are responsible for an influence of dangerous tackles in the game.
Penrith legend Greg Alexander targeted the Storm after Broncos star Patrick Carrigan was banned for a hip-drop tackle that broke the leg of Tigers playmaker Jackson Hastings.
Melbourne legend Cameron Smith bit back at Panthers deputy chairman Alexander before Storm owner Matt Tripp exploded at the accusations.
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“For the deputy chair of one of our biggest competitors, a week out from having to play them, to make unfounded and stupid comments as he has done, just goes to the arrogance of that club and their perceived status in the game at the moment ,” Tripp told The SMH.
That prompted the NRL 360 panel on Monday night to slam the Storm for being too sensitive, as Phil Rothfield’s called Tripp’s comments a “brutal response”.
“There’s no doubt the Storm have a chip on their shoulder as soon as anyone mentions the word wrestle,” Michael Carayannis said on NRL 360.
“You know what I think about Melbourne, I think they only hear the negative,” Braith Anasta said.
“We sit here every week and we commentate their games and we praise them every week about the powerhouse they’ve been since they’ve come into the competition.
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“The success they’ve had, their continued success year after year after year under Craig Bellamy and their organization and the head honchos has been unbelievable and unrivalled.
“But if anyone criticizes or criticises Melbourne in any way, shape or form it’s Sydney against Melbourne and we’re attacking Melbourne Storm.”
Melbourne have enjoyed unparalleled success in the NRL over the past two decades under Bellamy.
They’ve played finals in every season they were eligible since 2002 and in the past decade have clinched nine top-four finishes.
But Paul Kent questioned if they would have been as successful without “the wrestle”.
“Are they in decline the Storm, do you think?” Kent questioned.
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“Depends what happens with Cameron Munster,” Phil Rothfield answered.
“If Munster leaves I think they are definitely in a serious decline.
“If he stays, I know they’ve lost a couple of forwards who are getting on but I think they’re going to be ok if Cameron stays.”
“Ironically their defense on the weekend was not what you’d expect out of Melbourne,” Kent said.
“16-0 to let the Titans of all teams back in.”
“I think some of the forwards they’re losing are at the right age to lose them though,” Carayannis said.
“They’re going to be hard to replace and they’ve given them great service but they’re on the back end of their careers.”
“We’ve just talked about their success over a long time, this is going to be their biggest challenge,” Anasta said.
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