Sydney Roosters fans were left fuming during their side's win over the Melbourne Storm on Friday night when Cameron Munster got away with an apparent elbow to the face of Sam Walker.
The Roosters secured their top-eight spot in a dramatic and spiteful clash at AAMI Park, holding on at the death to win 18-14.
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In an explosive encounter in front of 25,308 fans in Melbourne, the Roosters ensured they would play in the finals for the sixth-straight season.
The game boiled over in the first half when Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sin-binned following a melee sparked by his facial massage of Nelson Asofa-Solomona after a tackle.
Waerea-Hargreaves and Asofa-Solomona were at the centre of a number of explosive clashes throughout the match, however it was Munster who was a major talking point afterwards.
After being brought down in a tackle by Walker in the second half after connecting with teammate Jahrome Hughes following a line break, Munster appeared to lash out and elbow Walker in the face.
Munster was struggling to get a quick play-the-ball away and drove his elbow down towards Walker, who was hanging on longer than Munster would have liked.
— MC_Hammer (@MC_Hammer75) August 26, 2022
But despite the apparent act of foul play, Munster escaped penalty and the Storm continued on with the ball.
Fans were quick to spot Munster's actions and slammed the Storm five-eighth on social media.
I don’t care that he’s Cameron Munster. He must be suspended for the elbow on Sam Walker. #NRLStormRoosters
— Erin Clarke (@ErinClarke_19) August 26, 2022
Munster should definitely be looked at for that nasty intentional elbow on Walker #NrlStormRoosters
— 动物农场 (@OsbornMiddleto3) August 26, 2022
Barnett copped 6 weeks for an elbow, only fair munster cops something similar
— Mr Armageddon (@Mr_Armageddon1) August 26, 2022
— NickName V2.0.22 (@NQuest63) August 26, 2022
Yer I saw that as well. Munster is a dirty player at times.
— Christian Dent (@DentChristian71) August 26, 2022
Definitely needs to miss a week for this. Disgusting play. I don’t know who Melbourne are playing next week but Munster shouldn’t be there.
— billy buttons (@billy__buttons) August 26, 2022
That’s 100% right they are a disgrace to the game but even more so they are allowed to get away with it! Would of lost by 40 if the rules where applied properly
— Darryl Williams (@Uwinchats) August 26, 2022
Craig Bellamy falls ill during Storm-Roosters clash
The Munster incident could prove even more of a headache for Craig Bellamy after the Storm coach suffered a migraine during the match and left the ground immediately after full-time.
The veteran coach did not attend the post-game press conference on Friday night, with senior assistant Stephen Kearney filling in.
Melbourne said they cleared Bellamy's absence with the NRL and the club should avoid a fine.
Coaches and players can be fined by the league if they skip media commitments without an excuse.
"(Bellamy) coached out the game, he left pretty much after the game," Kearney said.
"He's had to go home, he's got a bad headache, a migraine you might call it, but he should be OK."
The Storm charged home against the Roosters after trailing 14-0, but James Tedesco's heroic defensive effort prevented Melbourne from pinching the lead in the dying stages to lose 18-14.
It leaves next Thursday night's clash with Parramatta as a must-win clash for the Storm to finish off the regular season.
If Melbourne defeat the Eels they will secure an extraordinary eighth-straight top-four finish, but will drop into a sudden-death first week final should they lose.
"It's going to be a big challenge for us, but it's just about getting back to playing our footy and trying to set ourselves up for finals," Storm captain Jesse Bromwich said.
"We just need to make sure we're confident in what we're doing and getting a little bit of momentum heading into that first (finals) game.
"It's about getting our starts right and working on that discipline and completion."
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