Melbourne Storm fans were left fuming on Thursday night after a tackle that left Brandon Smith with a broken jaw didn’t draw a penalty.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy confirmed in his post-match press conference that Smith had suffered the broken jaw after a tackle from Eels player Marata Niukore.
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However Bellamy wasn’t particularly impressed that the high contact went unpunished, particularly after Storm forward Nelson Asofa Solomona was sin-binned for a similar incident.
When quizzed about the Asofa-Solomona and Niukore incidents as he was being ushered out of the presser, Bellamy said: “It’s the inconsistency I would call that.”
And Bellamy wasn’t alone, with fans also expressing their anger on social media.
Smith stayed down on the ground for a number of minutes before groggily walking off the field, asking a trainer not to touch his jaw.
The bunker appeared to review the incident before telling referee Ben Cummins that no penalty was required.
I am just astounded by that call re Brandon Smith, how on earth does a bloke end up with a broken jaw from shoulder contact and it isn't even a penalty?— Benny Smith (@lone_cowboy) August 20, 2020
don't normally whinge about the referring, but tonight was dreadful. 2 nonsense crusher tackle calls on Storm. Plus the send off for NAS was a joke.— Lord St. John Chadwick (@JohnMKeynes1936) August 20, 2020
But if we're consistent, Brandon Smith was smashed in the face - not even a penalty! #nrleelsstorm
No penalty of course. Shoulder of defender was high. Should be on report. #NRLEelsStorm— Lord St. John Chadwick (@JohnMKeynes1936) August 20, 2020
But no penalty?!— Peter Evans (@Puddwah) August 20, 2020
If a player is injured from careless tackle doesn’t matter what part hit the head it’s careless should of been a penalty and I’m not a Melbourne fan— christiangonzalez (@christi48434048) August 21, 2020
Then after big Nelson’s shoulder connects with head, he’s penalised, on report and bin for 10. Which is correct.— Jay Dwight (@JayD1313) August 21, 2020
Later Eels defender forearm connects and breaks Brandon Smith’s jaw. Not even a penalty.
Bellamy and Arthur disagree on crusher tackles
Bellamy was also unimpressed by two ‘crusher tackles’ from Storm players that were put on report, suggesting the Eels players involved may have stayed down to milk a penalty.
When asked by a reporter if Maika Sivo appeared to “go down reasonably easy” during one incident, Eels coach Brad Arthur said: “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.
However Bellamy disagreed.
“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 about Arthur’s comments, Bellamy replied: “I think I disagree with Brad on that.”
Wins against Melbourne are rare for Parramatta, but on Thursday night they scraped for a 14-0 statement victory against the depleted Storm at Bankwest Stadium.
Days after the NRL announced a crackdown on ‘crusher tackles’, debutant Cooper Johns and Storm forward Albert Vete were both pinged and could be sidelined for at least two weeks.
It would add to a growing list of sidelined players for Melbourne, which could also include Asofa-Solomona after his high-shot.
Bellamy’s outfit are already without Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Dale Finucane, Jesse Bromwich, Jahrome Hughes and Suliasi Vunivalu.