Storm fume over fatal late penalty

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was left to ponder a controversial penalty decision in the dying moments of his side’s 28-26 loss to the Gold Coast at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Greg Bird converted a 32-metre penalty kick with 32 seconds to play after Ryan Hinchcliffe, in his 150th NRL game, was called for a stripped ball by referee Ben Cummins.

The call sent the parochial Storm crowd into a chorus of boos as their side suffered its second straight defeat.

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"I’ve watched it a couple of times but to me it was a disgraceful decision," Bellamy said.

"If I’m wrong I’ll apologise but to me it was a real bad call. I think most people here would be pretty disappointed with that penalty."

Despite his disappointment at the decision, Bellamy conceded the Storm were not up to scratch for the second consecutive week.

"We are not where we want to be with our footy at the moment, again we were really inconsistent," Bellamy said.

"It’s just about doing our jobs thoroughly. I think we’ve taken a few shortcuts at times and looking for the easy option. There hasn’t been a whole heap of improvement the last couple of weeks."

In a team renowned for its staunch defence, Melbourne has conceded 88 points in the last three weeks and now rank fourth highest for points against this season. It is a concern that is playing on the mind of captain Cameron Smith.

"It’s a pretty easy way to look at it, you can’t win matches when your conceding 30 points a game," Smith said.

"We pride ourselves on our defence and its like it’s there when we want it to be and then if we don’t want it to be they score points, it’s quite frustrating really.

"Defence is an attitude, it you want to stop teams you’ll stop them but if you don’t want to do they hard work you won’t and they’ll score points."

Melbourne will have plenty of time to lick its wounds before hosting sixth-placed St George Illawarra next Monday night.