Storm's Smith Suffers on the sideline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's Smith Suffers on the sideline

By David Beniuk 05/10/2008 10:34:08 PM Comments (0)

Devastated Melbourne players struggled to work out just want went wrong in the 40-0 grand final thrashing at the hands of Manly, but banned skipper Cameron Smith said his presence would not have made a difference.

The Sea Eagles went into the decider as favourites but no one expected the massive margin, even after Smith was rubbed out two weeks ago for a grapple tackle.

"I think one bloke in the team's not going to make too much difference," Smith said.

"They had a simple game plan but they performed it for 80 minutes and that's why they ended up with 40 points on the board."

Smith said it was one of the toughest days of his life as he watched the second half mauling unfold at ANZ Stadium, made all the worse by knowing there was nothing he could do.

"It was just not being able to do anything and feeling for the boys," he said of his feeling watching the game.

"I was sitting in the front row of the stand and you could just see how it wasn't working for them out there.

"The second half was just totally opposite to what Melbourne Storm's method is and 40-0, it's quite unlike us."

The Storm emotionally farewelled five stars and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could only stand by and watch as the tears flowed freely in their dressing room and players embraced each other after the loss.

Retiring utility Matt Geyer said the Storm's tough build-up of a historic finals loss to the New Zealand Warriors, a last gasp victory over Brisbane and the bitter fallout after Smith's ban had taken its toll.

"The only thing I can think of is that we spent ourselves emotionally," he said.

"I think in the second half the first five, 10 minutes we started the better. We were putting our heads through the line and when they got 12, 14-nil there was no stopping them.

"I suppose (it was) momentum, but not that scoreline.

"That's just surreal ... I don't think we deserved it."

Geyer will join teenage centre Israel Folau (Brisbane) and forwards Jeremy Smith (St George Illawarra), Antonio Kaufusi (North Queensland) and Michael Crocker (Hull) in farewelling the Storm.

"It's a tough time in the dressing room, I'm just disappointed at how we finished off the game. I guess we saved our worst performance for last," Folau said.

"I'm pretty sad about leaving the club and the way I finished off for the club, that was pretty disappointing. But the worst thing is that I'm going to a new club and I've got to start all over again."

Crocker, who broke a rib late in the game, said he was at a loss as to how the Storm crashed.

"I don't think anyone could put their finger on it," he said.

"We were still confident at halftime.

"Manly were red hot and there wasn't much we could do about it."

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