I feel like a scapegoat: Cameron Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I feel like a scapegoat: Cameron Smith

By Melissa Woods 30/09/2008 07:33:37 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith admitted the two-game suspension which has rubbed him out of Sunday's NRL grand final was deserved, but said he still felt like he'd been made a scapegoat.

The Storm hooker described missing the ANZ Stadium match-up with Manly as the most disappointing experience of his career as he called for answers as to why similar grapple tackles to the one he committed on Brisbane backrower Sam Thaiday had gone unpunished.

"The most disappointing thing for me was that I was charged for a tackle that I believe, and the club believes, has happened prior to my offence and nothing happened to it," Smith said.

"In saying that, I'm happy to cop the two weeks.

"It's in the rules that it's illegal, but we just want some clarification there as to why there was nothing else done about it before that.

"I accept that my hand was in the wrong place but there had been tackles two weeks leading up to that game that were quite similar to that and nothing was done about it."

There is no denying the NRL sent out a clear message that it was serious about eradicating the grapple tackle from the game with Smith's suspension.

Not only is Smith the current Test and Queensland captain and reigning Golden Boot player of the year, but the fact the two-match ban covers the NRL grand final means is carries extra significance.

"It probably has," Smith said when asked if his suspension made a statement.

"... but I'd like to think that there shouldn't be any extra pressure on making a decision on myself.

"I'd like to think I'm as equal as any other player in the competition.

"If it's good enough to suspend myself, than why not anyone else?"

Coach Craig Bellamy used his post-match press conference after Friday night's preliminary final win over Cronulla to attack the media, the NRL and the judiciary over the Smith suspension, a stand reiterated by Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron.

It resulted in the Storm being issued with a $50,000 fine, NRL chief executive David Gallop adamant the integrity of the game could not be called into question.

Former Canterbury premiership-winning skipper Steve Mortimer said the Storm had every right to feel aggrieved.

"To be quite truthful I can understand how the Storm boys felt," Mortimer said.

"It's not that I support them but I can understand them blurting things out because it was a trial by media in the early part after that game when they played the Broncos ... I think Cameron Smith was hung out to dry."

Smith, who trained with his Storm teammates on Tuesday despite his playing ban, said Bellamy let his emotions get the better of him but he didn't feel similar anger.

"There's no anger at all," Smith said.

"Obviously there's been a lot of talk about this issue and the coach and CEO came out after the game last week and things probably got a bit out of hand, they went a bit further than what they wanted to.

"Craig runs high on his emotions and probably let it get away from him in there and there was quite a big build-up to that.

"He was quite angry all week at what happened, that was probably the message he didn't get across well enough, that he wanted an answer."

Smith said he was trying to stay positive and help his teammates in his quest for back-to-back titles as best he could.

"It's obviously the most disappointing thing I've ever experienced in my career and probably my life so far but at the end of the day if this is the worst thing that happens to me I'm going to have a charmed life."

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