NRL may fine Storm over Crocker comments - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL may fine Storm over Crocker comments

By Guy Hand and Steve Jancetic 09/05/2006 06:58:54 PM Comments (0)

A sensational outburst by suspended backrower Michael Crocker and Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron looks set to cost the Storm a $15,000 fine from the NRL.

Crocker claimed he had been victimised by the NRL judiciary because of his Queensland Origin allegiances after accepting a nine-match ban for a grade four dangerous throw charge for his tackle on Souths forward Shane Rigon.

The suspension will see Crocker, who has copped seven suspensions over the last five seasons, not only miss a large chunk of the Storm's season, but also the entire State of Origin series.

"I think it's got more to do with Origin," Crocker said of his hefty ban.

"People can take it how they want, but I'm pretty sure it definitely would have been a little more interesting if I was in a different jersey.

"I obviously didn't have a clean record which didn't help me. But the charge shouldn't have been that high.

"Maybe if my name wasn't Michael Crocker it would have been a different story as well."

The NRL took offence at Crocker's remarks and those of Waldron, who took a swipe at what he called "a lack of respect" from within the rugby league fraternity, issuing the Storm with a breach notice outlining a proposed $15,000 fine to which Melbourne has five days to respond.

"To say that people would be targeted or victimised is offensive to a judicial process that is regarded as a model for other sports," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

"A player's record is not taken into account when a charge is laid but a poor record does affect the points loadings after the fact and we make no apology for that.

"It is a fundamental principle in any penalty regime.

"That is something for players to consider but it is not something over which the judiciary personnel should be attacked."

It is the Storm and Queensland's second lengthy suspension for a big-name this season, with fellow Maroons Origin contender Billy Slater rubbed out for seven matches.

They are by far the biggest suspensions handed out by the NRL judiciary this season.

Crocker and Waldron said they decided not to fight the charge after being tipped off they stood little hope of success.

The Storm tried to fight Slater's suspension, but were stunned after the judiciary threw out their case and upped his ban from five weeks to seven, ruling him out of the first two Origin matches.

Waldron also questioned the fairness of the league judicial system, calling for a fair go from the rugby league community.

"As a club we struggle at times to understand what we perceive to be a lack of respect for the Melbourne Storm," he said.

"We are crucial to the growth of this game, it's about time a few people respected us for it and we expect a fair go in return."

"There's a lot of other people for a myriad of different reasons, whether it's because of who we're owned by or the fact we just live in Melbourne, struggle with the fact that a team outside Queensland and NSW could actually be successful.

"That just makes us more determined to shove it up them.

"We just want to be given a fair go, and I don't think we're getting it."

Waldron was particularly critical of his side's lack of Sunday free-to-air television exposure, with the Storm scheduled for only its second Sunday TV game in two years on May 28 against Penrith.

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