Melbourne captain Cameron Smith wants greater consistency from NRL referees and the league’s match review committee.
Storm face Cronulla on Saturday night in an AAMI Park blockbuster, with the winners crowned minor premiers.
Smith called on his side to lift after an upset loss to Brisbane but also had sage words of advice for whistle-blowers on Monday.
The 33-year-old, who uncharacteristically lost his cool last Friday night after Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford was awarded a contentious penalty, declared officials have “an obligation to referee the game properly”.
“(There were) some things in our game the other night which I think most people would say was playing against the spirit of the game,” Smith said.
“The players will get away with it if the referees keep giving them opportunities to do so.
“The one thing that players, coaches and fans always ask for is consistency.”
Smith is renowned for the calm demeanour in which he deals with referees – be it a club game, State of Origin clash or international fixture.
But the national skipper failed to hide his fury after Milford threw the ball at Felise Kaufusi, who was lying on the ground, and successfully appealed for a penalty last Friday night.
“Very rarely do I sort of let my emotions get out of check like that, but I felt quite strongly the way the referee ruled on that,” Smith said.
Smith was also unhappy about the fact Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona had been offered a one-game ban for making dangerous contact to the neck of Brisbane’s Jarrod Wallace.
Storm are unlikely to take the case to the judiciary as Asofa-Solomona would be risking a two-match suspension and the prospect of missing week one of the finals.
Melbourne have dropped two of their past three games, having lost 22-8 to Canberra in round 23 and fallen 26-16 to the Broncos in round 25.
“We are still sitting on top of the ladder so I see us as a quality football side,” Smith said.
“When we are playing our best footy I’ll back ourselves against any opposition.
“It would be wonderful to win the minor premiership, it’s a fair achievement to finish on top after such a long season but it’s not going to be our sole focus.”