Cameron Smith given “concerning act notice” from NRL for tackle on Raider Bailey Simonsson. Picture: AAP
Cameron Smith given “concerning act notice” from NRL for tackle on Raider Bailey Simonsson. Picture: AAP

Storm hits ear smear: ‘Nothing to worry about’

A relentless smear campaign against Melbourne Storm and Cameron Smith has not distracted the NRL heavyweight from targeting its third minor premiership in four seasons on Sunday against Gold Coast Titans.

Past player turned Storm assistant Ryan Hinchcliffe said the annual attacks only steeled the 'us against them' mentality, a staple of league life in Melbourne.

"You expect it, there is no doubt about that," Hinchcliffe said.

"It probably started a bit earlier this year … we don't train or practice anything illegal so we know that we got nothing to worry about there, it's just a matter of us going out there and doing what we know works for us."

Storm blew a golden opportunity to cement top spot last week coughing up an 18-0 lead against Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park.

Hinchcliffe promised a response against the Titans and on Tuesday defended Smith after the Melbourne captain received a "concerning act notice" from the NRL for a tackle on Canberra's Bailey Simonsson.

A scurrilous still image of Smith, purportedly pulling Simonsson's ears, has done the rounds in recent days fanning Sydney's hatred of Melbourne's success.

Cameron Smith is tackled by John Bateman on Saturday night.
Cameron Smith is tackled by John Bateman on Saturday night.

 

The vision, however, paints a different picture of the incident.

"I think you can see there he's got hold of his (Simonsson's) jersey and he's trying to hold him on the ground," Hinchcliffe said.

"Yes his hands end up around his face but if you have a look across all the games on the weekend I'm sure you could find 20 or 30 or 40 of those tackles where hands end up around that area."

Hinchcliffe refuted the personal attacks on Melbourne captain Smith would have any bearing on the NRL record-breaker's legacy.

"Cameron Smith is one of the most honest and hardworking players, the hardest working player I have ever seen out on the training field and he's done it for 20-odd years," Hinchcliffe said.

"I don't think it does anything or will do anything to his legacy.

"I think he's extremely smart and he plays the game, at the end of the day we play a game and he plays it better than anyone."

 

 

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Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial.