Bellamy stands up for Storm players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy stands up for Storm players

By Melissa Woods 07/06/2010 05:51:16 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy says his players are being treated like lepers by away fans, but delays in investigations into the depth of the NRL club's salary cap breaches mean an end to the saga is some way off.

The Melbourne men were under attack last Friday night from a vocal band of Parramatta supporters who branded them cheats following the exposure of their salary cap rorting.

Some called for the visitors to hand over the NRL premiership trophy to the Eels whom they beat in last year's grand final.

While Melbourne players said after Friday's 24-10 loss they weren't upset by the taunts, coach Bellamy stood up for his men on Monday.

"Our guys are a bit frustrated from what we copped from the crowd as soon as we got there but we can't control what the crowd do," he told radio station SEN.

"The players felt a little bit unloved at times, we are treated like lepers at most of our away games."

It's a situation which is unlikely to change in the near future however, with forensic investigations into the extent of the club's salary cap breaches set to continue for at least another few weeks.

It is believed the failure of players to co-operate with accounting firm Deloitte is contributing to the drawn out investigation process - their resistance likely to be strengthened following reports skipper Cameron Smith had three contracts with the Storm, while other players also had multiple deals.

There are also claims some Melbourne players almost certainly knew that some of their payments came from third parties in ways that would not be counted towards the salary cap.

Delays in the club audit are also holding up the Storm's roster movements for next season, with the investigation to indicate to the NRL how much Melbourne will have to shave from payments for next season.

While it is assumed the club will have to leg go at least one of their big four of Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Greg Inglis, the ever-increasing scale of the breaches could result in even greater sacrifices.

Players, including Smith, and officials are refusing to comment until the investigation is complete, with the matter also before the courts.

Storm chairman Rob Moodie and the club's three other independent directors have taken legal action against the NRL, claiming the league's chief executive David Gallop broke NRL rules and denied the Storm due process in stripping premierships and points.

The matter will return to the Victorian Supreme Court for a further directions hearing on Wednesday.

Bellamy said he felt his players deserved better from away fans but conceded it was a situation that they would have to accept.

"At the end of day everybody left at our club are good people and we probably don't deserve that," he said.

"But we can't control what the crowd do, they pay their money and they can go along and do what they like.

"We have to get used to that because we're obviously going to cop more of it."

The Storm have won four or their six matches since they were ruled ineligible to win points this season and Bellamy said they would continue to be a force regardless of the lack of reward.

"The only thing we can do is play footy, and we've got to as best we can even though there's no reward, the reward is our fans we have to play well for them and for our team-mates and we've got a certain amount of pride in what we do and that's the approach we have," he said.

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