Storm's private anger over 'vicious' Nelson Asofa-Solomona treatment
Melbourne will be motivated by a private anger as they attempt to rubber stamp themselves as the best club in the NRL era by becoming the first team to win the competition from outside the top four.
The Storm remain livid over what they view as media persecution against prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona following his elbow drop on Roosters rookie Joseph Suaalii in round 24.
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The furore carried over into the last-round clash against the Eels where the crowd booed big Nelson's every touch.
He was placed on a report for a fairly innocuous hit on Mitchell Moses, further fuelling the Storm's perception of trial by media.
Coach Craig Bellamy said NAS had become a public 'punching bag' and was being refereed 'on reputation' after the prop's dossier of alleged cheap shots were trotted out pre-game.
We've been here before, of course, with Melbourne's tackling techniques.
It's as September as spring.
Former Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith has seen this movie before, several times over.
"There has not been a day in my playing career when we practised dropping forearms or elbows to the head," he said.
"We didn't practise hip drops, as much as some people in the media like to say.
"It’s completely up to individuals that make decisions in moments in games when they come into make tackles.
"If guys want to run the gauntlet and get it wrong, then they suffer the consequences."
Melbourne angry over Nelson Asofa-Solomona treatment
The Storm feel things went too far with the attack on NAS.
One club insider described the focus as "vicious" and urged the media to drop off for the sake of the prop's wellbeing.
He told Yahoo Sport Australia the attention on the Kiwi front-rower was that intense, one news website had Asofa-Solomona stories trending just below articles on convicted murderer Chris Dawson.
Bellamy has been around long enough, and seen plenty, and doesn’t bite as easily as he used to.
But he felt the need to speak out on this one as Melbourne prepare for an elimination final against Canberra on Saturday night.
"It's that time of the year when everyone starts going on about us. I just thought it was quite ridiculous some of the things that came up," he told 100 Per Cent Footy.
"The Nelson situation…it (the scrutiny) was not the right thing.
"With all due respect, a lot of players drop down in tackles on top of the other players,
"Because he's 130 kilos (it gets exaggerated) so unless were going to make a rule where if you’re over 90 kilos you're not allowed to drop down to tackle..."
Canberra, you have been warned.
An angry Melbourne is a dangerous Melbourne.
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