'Line was crossed': Storm hit out at brutal Craig Bellamy takedown

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Seen here, Storm coach Craig Bellamy and NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent.
Paul Kent last week took a brutal shot at Craig Bellamy and Melbourne's perceived history of illegal tackles. Pic: Fox Sports

The Melbourne Storm have made an official complaint about ugly claims levelled against their coach by "particular commentators".

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Storm have sent an official complaint to the NRL and Fox Sports over what is described as unfair criticism of their under-fire head coach.

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Bellamy found himself in the crosshairs of Fox Sports' Paul Kent last week when the NRL 360 co-host accused the Melbourne coach of fostering a culture of illegal tackles.

Kent's comments about Bellamy came after the Storm coach labelled his assertion "ridiculous" that Melbourne's Felise Kaufusi should be banned for eight weeks for a controversial hit on Parramatta's Ryan Matterson, that saw the Eels forward leave the field with concussion.

It prompted an angry tirade from Kent on NRL 360 last week, in which the veteran rugby league journalist rattled off a list of prohibited tackles he accused Bellamy's Storm of bringing into the game.

“All right let me just say this, grapple tackle, chicken wing, rolling pin, hip drop, crusher, crocodile rolls, cannon balls, ankle twists,” Kent said in reference to the since outlawed tackles.

“The only constant in Melbourne since 2005 when all those tackles have been brought in and later banned in the game is the head coach Craig Bellamy.

“So I think the less advice we take from Craig Bellamy about the welfare of players the better.

“And you can go to town on that because you know what they are the ones that are doing it.

“The game is now producing rules to counter what Melbourne are trying to introduce. I’ve got no stock in it.”

Storm CEO defends integrity of coach

Melbourne Storm chief executive Justin Rodski hit back by emailing NRL and Fox Sports executives on Saturday to complain about the comments.

He also defended the integrity of the Storm coach in a separate address to the club's members.

"This week, our coach of the last 19 years was, in our view, unfairly criticised by particular commentators," Rodski said.

"As a club, we appreciate the media has a job to do each week reporting on our great game and our broadcasters are critical to growing our game and giving our fans the chance to watch their team play week in, week out.

Pictured here, coach Craig Bellamy oversees a Melbourne Storm training session.
The Storm's Craig Bellamy is one of the longest standing and most successful coaches in the NRL. Pic: Getty

“A large majority of journalists and reporters play fair too. But, on this occasion, we believe the line was crossed and have taken the matter up with the NRL and Fox Sports. It’s only fair we do so.

"Craig Bellamy is a person of the highest character and integrity, he is a legend of the game, and he deserves to be respected and celebrated for the contribution he has made to the Melbourne Storm and the NRL.

"But most importantly, he is loved by his players, his coaching group, his staff and by the broader Melbourne Storm community, including our members. Let’s make sure we get behind our coach and our team next Friday and show the rest of the competition what the Melbourne Storm is made of."

Despite the complaints about the media's treatment of their coach, the Storm have indicated they will not be taking legal action.

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