White's striking charge works up a sweat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

White's striking charge works up a sweat

By Todd Balym 27/09/2008 12:13:31 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne's grand final preparations are set to be mired in further judiciary controversy with prop Brett White sweating on a possible striking charge from the emphatic win over Cronulla.

White was put on report for raising his elbow at Cronulla rival Ben Ross in just the seventh minute of Friday night's 28-0 preliminary final win at the Sydney Football Stadium in an incident that left his opponent heavily dazed.

It was another chapter in the fiery feud between the two bookends after they traded punches in the round two clash earlier this year.

White copped a four week ban for striking from that fight and due to loading he is certain to miss next week's grand final even if handed a base grade one charge by the match review committee on Monday.

White however was adamant he didn't deliberately lift his elbow at Ross and he wasn't too concerned the incident could cost him a third straight grand final appearance.

"The first contact certainly wasn't intentional," said White.

If White is charged the Storm would certainly contest the ruling at a judiciary hearing as they are already without skipper Cameron Smith (grapple suspension) and Test forward Ryan Hoffman (ankle) next week.

Smith's suspension has particularly irked the Storm with coach Craig Bellamy Friday night blasting a trial by media in the belief his player was "hung out to dry" within minutes of his grapple incident last week.

The expected media interest in White's possible charge this week will undoubtedly cause further angst for Melbourne as they prepare to defend their title.

But if the win over the Sharks proved anything it was that the Storm are a side more than capable of casting aside off field dramas to produce first class performances.

With halfback Cooper Cronk in control of the team as stand in skipper the Storm's dominance was never questioned against the Sharks.

Cronk set up the first two tries as Melbourne raced to a 16-0 half time lead which virtually sealed the result.

Suspended captain Smith said he knew after 20 minutes that his men had clicked back into gear after two tough weeks with the shock loss to the Warriors and last-gasp win over Brisbane.

"It was quite an even start and no one really had it early but I thought after we scored our second try the boys looked really comfortable out there and weren't going to let Cronulla control the pace," said Smith.

"They just kept their composure all game and ended up putting 28 points on them.

"It showed that when everyone plays as a team and does their role really well what we can do.

"To play against a team that's been so consistent all year and put 28 points against them and they don't score, any I think that's wonderful."

Smith reserved special praise for his deputy Cronk and has no doubt the feisty little general can carry his form through to next week's decider at ANZ Stadium.

"That is just the type of player he is. He likes having responsibility of the team," said Smith.

"Even though he has the 'c' next to his name I don't think his role changed too much from previous games.

"He certainly led from the front. I thought he was outstanding and that is what you need from your number seven and he did a great job."

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