Real reason fans hate Cameron Smith
Paul Kent and James Hooper have fired back at claims from Craig Bellamy that Cameron Smith is unfairly criticised because he is not at a Sydney club.
Bellamy believes that the hate directed at Smith is about tall poppy syndrome given Smith's success at Melbourne.
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"His coach Craig Bellamy came out and was quite staunch for his defence of the captain for the criticism he has been copping," Ben Ikin told NRL 360.
"He can't quite get his head around why Cameron is being positioned as the villain."
However, Kent believes the tension around Smith has been building throughout his career and thinks it has nothing to do with who he plays his club football for.
"It is a slow boil this one and it has been simmering under the surface of the game for some years and it is starting to come out now," Kent said.
"I think Craig Bellamy is misguided a little bit from the point of view of he thinks it is an anti-Melbourne pro-Sydney agenda.
"His quote was if Cameron was playing for a Sydney club it wouldn't be there, which is just ridiculous.
"Wests hate Canterbury and Roosters hate Souths and Parramatta hate Canterbury and Canterbury hate Parramatta.
"That rivalry exists in the city, so it is not a Melbourne thing. Most Sydney people have always wanted Melbourne to do well.
"I think if you are a Wests fan you have more important hatreds here in the city."
Journalist Brent Read countered that every team in Sydney hates Melbourne, but Hooper explained that it is less to do with the Storm's success as it is to do with perceived preferential treatment towards the former Queensland and Australian skipper.
"It has nothing to do with the fact they are based down in the southern capital," Hooper said.
"It has got everything to do with the fact that for years and years now we have had the 'referee Cameron' gags that he is able to negotiate and game manage a match with the officials better than any other player in the game.
"Then you have only got to go back to that issue with Bailey Simonsson. He gets a concerning act. If that is Sam Burgess or Jared Waerea-Hargreaves they are not get concerning act. They are getting a contrary conduct actual whack around the ear suspension."