Storm's White clear to play grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's White clear to play grand final

By Guy Hand 29/09/2008 07:04:44 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm prop Brett White has taken the extraordinary step of denying rumours of an off-field rift with Cronulla's Ben Ross that has contributed to their on-field fireworks this season.

White is free to play in Sunday's NRL grand final after being cleared of elbowing Ross during last weekend's preliminary final.

White was put on report for the incident, and faced the prospect of missing the grand final against Manly if charged.

But the NRL found White had no case to answer and would be free to play.

Immediately after being cleared, White publicly went on the front foot to deny claims of an off-field rift with Ross after their second run-in this season.

White copped a four-week ban for punching Ross in round two, and the pair were embroiled again in the Storm's 28-0 preliminary final shutout of the Sharks.

White and Ross were once St George Illawarra teammates and were rumoured to have fallen out over a female.

"There's been a lot of rumours been going around about off-field incidents going on between Ben Ross and I just want to clear that up," White said.

"We've never lived together, we've never had a run-in off the field, there's never been any drama. I want to squash that here, now.

"I said earlier in the week I wasn't focusing in on Ben Ross. The incident that happened with us could have happened with anyone."

White's reprieve came at the end of a seven-day period in which the Storm had been mauled at the tribunal and by the NRL.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith was suspended for a grapple tackle, forcing him out of the grand final.

And coach Craig Bellamy and chief executive Brian Waldron were fined $50,000 for questioning the integrity of the NRL and its judiciary over the Smith suspension.

White admitted he was relieved at being cleared of any wrongdoing, but felt confident that he had done nothing wrong.

"Any time you get put on report you always worry, especially in grand final week," White said.

"I had faith they (the match review panel) would see the incident for what it was - that there was no malicious intent.

"I looked at it a thousand times and I knew there was nothing there."

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