Storm and Blair accept NRL penalty - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm and Blair accept NRL penalty

By Guy Hand 01/09/2011 02:46:01 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne and Adam Blair will take their NRL fight-night medicine, swallow hard and refuse to complain publicly about its bitterness.

For a club no stranger to tough NRL punishments and a history of fighting them, the Storm maintained the stiffest of upper lips in accepting Blair's season-ending penalty on Thursday.

Blair expressed remorse, and chief executive Ron Gauci ruled out any appeal against a ban which deals a big blow to the Storm's finals hopes.

The only sign of bristling was from coach Craig Bellamy, moving uncomfortably in his seat as he brushed aside a line of questioning that perhaps the NRL had it in for the Storm.

All admitted they believed Blair's penalty - a three-match ban for his role in last weekend's all-in brawl against Manly added to a two-week striking suspension - was excessive.

But the Storm won't be fighting City Hall on it, accepting Blair's fate and hoping to get on with their finals campaign without any energy-sapping bunfights with the NRL in the background.

"I feel disappointed, and very remorseful for what I've done and I just want to move on now and put my best foot forward for helping out the team and being there for them," Blair said.

"We had a great case (at the judiciary on Wednesday) night and they gave us what they thought we deserved. So I guess we just take that.

"I was shattered (with the penalty). I think it is (excessive)."

Gauci said: "Obviously we're disappointed, and we think the penalties were excessive. But we accept it, and we want to move on."

Blair had already pleaded guilty to a striking charge on Tuesday and was hit with a two-game ban.

But he was slapped with a further three-game suspension by the league's judiciary on Wednesday following his sideline stoush with Manly's Glenn Stewart.

That promoted both interchange benches to tip out and a wild brawl to erupt - which the NRL was keen to declare unacceptable both in public pronouncements and via its judicial process.

Both clubs were fined $50,000 in addition to an array of suspensions for players involved.

Blair's suspension rules him out of the Storm's finals campaign and also ends his career at the club, with the 25-year-old joining Wests Tigers next season.

But Bellamy indicated the New Zealand international would have a role to play in helping ready the club's forward pack for the upcoming finals campaign.

"He's going to take a couple of days off, clear his head a bit and be back with us on Monday.

"He'll train with us, he's always been an important part of our group. This doesn't change."

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