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Meet and greet time for Storm and NRL

By Guy Hand 18/02/2009 07:37:22 PM Comments (0)

The NRL and Melbourne Storm have apparently made their peace, with league boss David Gallop meeting Storm players and officials on Wednesday as part of his club-by-club charm offensive.

The game's ruling body and Melbourne ended 2008 acrimoniously, with the Storm fined a record $50,000 over comments by chief executive Brian Waldron and coach Craig Bellamy questioning the NRL judiciary's integrity over skipper Cameron Smith's suspension for the grand final.

Waldron also questioned Gallop's leadership, prompting a stinging attack from the NRL boss at the time to go with the fine.

Gallop was in Melbourne to update players on the state of the game and upcoming changes for 2009, as well as answer players' questions about league's future direction.

But he said the NRL and the Storm hierarchy had already moved on from the blow-up which dominated the lead-up to Melbourne's grand final appearance and subsequent heavy defeat by Manly.

"We've got through a bit of that," Gallop said.

"Hopefully they've put that behind them and realised it (the comments) maybe wasn't the smartest move."

Melbourne players told Gallop at the meeting their major concern was the length of the season, saying the current 26 rounds of fixtures plus a finals series was too long.

And the league boss agrees.

"The rugby league season is too long, but coming up with a solution to that is difficult," Gallop said.

"We're unique in the way we're running a big club competition and a big rep program.

"Other sports generally aren't doing that and it presents big challenges.

"It's not simply as easy as saying to our clubs `we're going to reduce your ability to make gate receipts by taking a couple of rounds away'.

"That's only going to put more pressure on them."

Gallop also ruled out any expansion to the 16-team competition in the short-term.

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