Angry Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says his NRL side deserves better than the annual September attack on the Storm’s tackling technique.
Bellamy on Friday blasted critics from up north for their criticism of his team, which he says is an annual feature of the finals.
He feels that attacks on the minor premiers, who have the best defensive record in the NRL, are unfair.
“We’re the best defensive side this year … that takes a lot of hard work,” Bellamy said.
“All year no-one’s had a complaint about the wrestling or the slowing down of the play the ball.
“And as soon as September comes, it’s `let’s get that song out again, we haven’t played it all year; we’ll get a different voice to sing it but we’ll play it again’ and I think my players deserve a bit better than that.”
The “voice” this year has been North Queensland coach Paul Green, who before their qualifying final called for the Storm ruck play to be tightly policed.
The Cowboys then claimed three players suffered neck injuries during their match, including Ethan Lowe, who required season-ending surgery.
Lowe said post game he didn’t blame the Storm and their tackling technique for the injury but Bellamy felt that comment, and that Melbourne had been cleared by the NRL, had been lost.
Bellamy, who wants coaches to be banned from criticising or pressuring referees before games, said he needed to respond publicly to bring balance to the discussion.
“There has been multiple mentions of how many sore necks the Cowboys have had but how many mentions have there been of the NRL clearing us of any wrongdoing in any of the tackles,” he said.
“I don’t want to be criticising anyone or take anyone’s right away of having a say but I wanted it to have a bit of balance.
“The balance is fact: the Cowboys asked twice for the NRL to check it and they did and they had no problems.”