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Media Reports

Post by willow » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 8:38 am

Melbourne weather unexpected storm as Benji set for spell
April 8, 2013 - 8:58PM
Rugby league columnist - SMH

Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall left AAMI Park after Monday night’s loss to Melbourne in a surgical boot and is likely to be sidelined for weeks.

Marshall suffered the injury in the first 20 minutes of the 26-12 loss and battled on, scoring the try that put his side in front for the second time.

‘‘It’s a toe injury, as you can see he’s in a boot and going to have scans,’’ Tigers CEO Stephen Humphreys told Fairfax Media.

‘‘At the moment it looks like he’s going to have some weeks on the sideline.’’

Melbourne found it unexpectedly difficult to secure a club-record 13th consecutive win - but the National Rugby League may have found its' latest rules controversy.

Given little chance of interrupting the world champions' eight-match unbeaten home run, Mick Potter's side led early and regained the lead midway through the second half of their 26-12 loss at AAMI Park last night.

A one-two punch from Mahe Fonua and Cooper Cronk ended the brave showing from the visitors but a controversial incident in the 46th minute when Wests Tigers replacement Eddy Pettybourne had a try chalked off under a “driver” is sure to create some debate.

Pettybourne's teammate, Ben Murdoch-Masila, was found to have illegally interfered with rival Siosaia Vave as Pettybourne strugged with a phalanx of defenders before safely grounding the ball.

‘‘I got it down but they said you’re not allowed to push. I reckon it was harsh. It changed the game, it’s something they’ve got to look at,’’ Pettybourne said.

But replays suggested Murdoch-Masila merely touched Vave. “You can push your teammate,” Robbie Farah said to referee Adam Gee, who spotted the illegality live.

“You simply can't touch an opponent,” Gee responded. “That's what we've found.”
Mahe Fonua of the Storm catches the ball over Joel Reddy of the Tigers.

Wests Tigers regained the lead 12 minutes into the second half just moments after Pettybourne had his try disallowed.

Captain Robbie Farah bombed into the north-eastern corner, replacement Murdoch-Masila flew high and tapped the ball down to Marshall who plunged over despite a nagging toe problem.

The final pass looked forward but referee Jason Robinson gave the touchdown without referring it upstairs. Makeshift halfback Braith Anasta's conversion was good despite the difficult angle.

When Melbourne got their chance, they took it.

Firstly, Slater threw a pinpoint cutout pass for Victorian product Fonua to score in the corner, with captain Cameron Smith goalling from the sideline, in the 62nd minute.

Three minutes later Storm centre Will Chambers burst into the clear and positioned halfback Cronk for the final pass to give the home team the lead. Smith muffed his conversion.

Wests Tigers shocked the Storm by taking an early lead with a try to young winger James Tedesco.

Farah grubber-kicked into the south-eastern corner and Tedesco found himself an unimpeded passage down the flank to score. His put-down looked messy and was referred to video referees Sean Hampstead and Henry Perenara before being approved.

The joint venture side had given an early indication it meant business, pinning Billy Slater in goal with a determined chase in the fourth minute.

Rival fullback Tim Moltzen spilt a bomb not long afterwards but Melbourne failed to capitalise and late Melbourne inclusion Sisa Waqa put Slater away in the 14th minute only for play to be called back when the match officials detected the No.1 had shoved Braith Anasta in backplay.

The decisive call of the first half was actually two decisive calls. Whistler Jason Robinson at first appeared to ping Wests Tigers' playmaker Benji Marshall for diving at the legs of Gareth Widdop after a kick.

But in fact, Robinson meant to penalise Storm chasers for being in front of Widdop and eventually stuck his hand up in the other direction.

A minute later came Tedesco's try, which went unconverted.

Melbourne eschewed a penalty shot almost in front when Aaron Woods took Jason Ryles high on the half hour – an opportunity Anasta accepted three minutes later at the other end for 6-0.

Wests Tigers were penalised three consecutive times defending their line as halftime neared. “Every time we get down here, you try to slow it down,” Robinson told Farah.

The Storm eventually made Wests Tigers pay for their insubordination, replacement forward Siosia vave crashing over just short of halftime and Cameron Smith levelling the ledger at 6-6.

Wests Tigers' Adam Blair was booked for lifting the leg of an opponent in a tackle at the 60 minute mark.

Waqa scored for Melbourne in the dying minutes.

MELBOURNE 26 (S vave M Fonua C Cronk tries C Smith 3 goals) bt WESTS TIGERS 12 (J Tedesco B Marshall tries B Anasta 2 goal) bt at AAMI Park. Referees: J Robinson/A Gee. Crowd: 18,860

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Post by willow » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 8:39 am

Bellamy shrugs off Potter's barbs
April 8, 2013
Steve Mascord
Rugby league columnist - SMH

MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy has defended his players against hints from rival Mick Potter that they are better at influencing match officials than their Wests Tigers counterparts.

Potter chose his words very carefully after the 26-12 Monday Night Football defeat at AAMI Park, referring to "people influencing people" in matches. In a subsequent Triple M radio interview, he made reference to "players saying things" but would go no further.

"I don't wear the rabbit ears," Bellamy said in reference to sports ears, which allow spectators to hear conversations on the field, "because I've got better things to do."

"But they have some players in their side like Robbie Farah whose communications skills with referees are quite strong so I don't really know about that."

Potter's comments were the most intriguing aspect of the post-match discussions after Melbourne twice came from behind to register a club record 13th consecutive win. Wests Tigers lost the penalty count 14-7.

"Just the influence of the game the influence people have over other people to cause results," he said when asked to clarify what adversity he thought his men had overcome.

"We need to overcome that and we couldn't. There was a lot of talk going on out there and a lot of influence from senior guys and I just don't think we get the rub of the green some times.

"Different people have different influences."

Asked if he was referring to senior Melbourne players talking to match officials, Potter said: "I'm not saying anything. You can draw a long bow or whatever. What I'm saying is there's influence and it does affect what happens out there.

"We need to be better than that and we need to able to withstand that sort of pressure."

For Bellamy's part, he though the joint venture got away with slowing down the ruck too much. "I think they got some latitude there," he said.

"It was the slowest game we've played in."

Captain Cameron Smith said: "I just spoke to our front rowers in there. They said they felt like there were people all over them all the time and they couldn't get up and play the ball.

"There were hands on the ball, which we were told they were going to crack down on. It was probably reflected in the stat that I didn't have one dummy half run tonight.

"I thought we could have got one or two more penalties around the ruck."

Potter described the decision of the referees and video referees to disallow an Eddy Pettybourne try in the 46th minute as "just the wrong call."

Robbie Farah added: "i don't think it's a controversy. You're not allowed to come in and have an influence on the defending team by touching them.

"I couldn't see where (Ben Murdoch Masila) laid his hand on a Melbourne player. I thought he was pushing Eddy (Pettybourne)."

And Bellamy said his decision to give his players a few days off last week had backfired because "they didn't get their minds back on the job".

Potter said the experiment of playing Braith Anasta in the halves was likely to continue.

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