Fan anger at Storm understandable: NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fan anger at Storm understandable: NRL

By Steve Larkin 08/06/2010 05:11:21 PM Comments (0)

Bitterness from fans towards salary cap cheats Melbourne Storm is understandable, says NRL's chief operating officer Graham Annesley.

Annesley said fans are justifiably emotional at the Storm's salary cap rorting but he expects outrage to subside over the course of the season.

A day after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said his players were being treated as lepers at away games, Annesley said the NRL had expected a supporter backlash aimed at the fallen premiers.

"It's obviously understandable that the fans are emotional about what has happened," Annesley said in Adelaide on Tuesday.

"We didn't expect that they (fans) would be happy about it and clearly they are not.

"And we are not happy about it - we would have much rather been in a situation where we didn't have to deal with this at all.

"But having uncovered the problem, it was our responsibility to deal with it, and we have done that.

"I think the fans will adapt over the course of the season."

Annesley said supporter anger was considered when the NRL fined Melbourne $1.6 million, stripped them of two premierships and banned them gaining any premiership points this season for salary cap cheating.

"We have acknowledged that it's not an ideal scenario that we are confronted with between now and the end of the year," he said.

"And we certainly threw all of those options on the table before we decided to take the action that we did.

"But whichever way you look at it, we felt that this was the best result for fairness and parity right across the board.

"We did expect that it would throw up some challenges between now and the end of the season but we have to confront those, just as the Melbourne players and the Melbourne fans have to confront them."

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