Craig Bellamy was ushered out of his post-match press conference after just two minutes on Thursday night after suggesting Parramatta players had ‘stayed down’ to win penalties.
Cooper Johns and Albert Vete were both placed on report for ‘crusher tackles’ in the Eels’ 14-0 win over the Storm at Bankwest Stadium.
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Nelson Asofa-Solomona was also sin-binned for a high tackle on Marata Niukore, adding to the Storm’s woes with Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Dale Finucane, Jesse Bromwich and Suliasi Vunivalu all on the sidelines.
There were frosty scenes in the post-match press conferences, with Parramatta coach Brad Arthur denying his players had milked penalties, while Storm coach Bellamy disagreed.
When asked by a reporter if Maika Sivo appeared to “go down reasonably easy” during the Johns incident, Arthur snapped back: “What do you mean go down reasonably easy?”
“I’d have to have a look at it again but nobody’s deliberately staying down mate,” he said.
Craig Bellamy fires back at Arthur claims
However Bellamy saw it differently.
“I suppose by the definition of whether they are (crusher tackles) or not, you do get people turn in tackles,” Bellamy said.
“I made that comment during the week. I don’t think anyone goes out there to consciously do a crusher tackle on the opposition.
“With all due respect there was one of our blokes that didn’t get picked up, and our bloke got up and played the ball.
“At the end of the day that’s out of my jurisdiction what happens, but whatever will be will be.”
When told by another journo that Arthur said no one was staying down deliberately, Bellamy replied: “I think I disagree with Brad on that.”
In bizarre scenes, Storm football manager Frank Ponissi then pulled Bellamy out of the press conference after just two minutes, saying the team had a plane to catch.
When quizzed as he was leaving about the Asofa-Solomona sin-binning compared to another high-shot from the Eels that went unpunished, Bellamy said: “It’s the inconsistency I would call that.”
Cooper Johns denies crusher tackle
Debutant Johns also hit out at Sivo after the match.
Now facing at least two weeks on the sidelines if he is charged by the match review committee on Friday, the 21-year-old said he is confident of escaping penalty.
“I'm not too worried about that one to be honest, I don't think there was too much in it,” he said.
“Sivo's got about 40 kilos on me too, I don't think it would have hurt him, I think he was just trying to draw a penalty.”
The controversial moment didn’t sour the emotional debut for Johns, who was deputising for injured half Jarhome Hughes.
Bellamy had told him all week he was a 90 per cent chance to play but Johns believed the worst until he finally got the call up on Wednesday afternoon.
It meant the attention, while intense on game day, was as short-lived as possible.
“I've sort of had that my whole life really. And ask my dad, I like a lot of attention,” he laughed.
“I'm a bit of an attention seeker so I handled it pretty good and it made for a lot of emotion for the game.
“I did enjoy myself, I probably built it up a lot bigger in my head to be honest.
“Dad and (uncle, Andrew Johns) upped it in my head, probably built it up to be something bigger than it was but when you get out there, the adrenaline starts pumping and 10 minutes felt like 10 seconds, really.
“I was very grateful that he gave me the chance to wear the jersey tonight and I'm looking forward to the next time I get to wear it.”