The Melbourne Storm have called on the NRL to go back to a one referee system in the aftermath of its thrilling 22-19 win over arch rivals Manly at AAMI Park.
Storm snatched victory with two tries in the final nine minutes to keep its season alive but a string of refereeing decisions left the home side with a sour taste in its mouth.
Coach Craig Bellamy did not show for his post match press conference, instead sending assistant Justin Morgan to face the media alongside captain Cameron Smith.
Morgan was left to spell out the reason for Bellamy’s absence.
“We tend to sometimes get a lot of decisions that have question marks against them,” said Morgan.
“Some of decisions and some of the inconsistencies. I think it was plain for everybody to see.
“He [Bellamy] is pretty cut up at the moment because he loves his players and he wants to protect his players and I can see where he is coming from.”
Morgan, who was in fact NRL video referee coach last season, singled out Manly’s first half try by Peta Hiku that was initially ruled ‘no-try’ by referee Shayne Hayne before being overturned upon video review as one example of what it viewed as constant inconsistencies.
“They have a difficult job we know that, but at the same time so does Craig, the coaching team and the players,” said Morgan.
“The work and preparation that goes into a game is phenomenal and sometimes to see the inconsistencies not only from match to match but from referee to referee sometimes it is really hard to swallow.
“When you’ve got different people making different decisions, different interpretations, different levels of experience as well. There are a lot of great areas.”
It was a frustration that the playing group shared with the Storm coaches box.
Smith referred to last week's ANZAC test, officiated by Hayne, as one example of the advantages of having one referee.
“He [Hayne] did a great job and after the match I don’t think we had any issue with the refereeing.
“I found that Test match really enjoyable just going back to one referee, which is an international rule, and I felt the game just flowed so much better.
“I don’t know whether the NRL needs to look at that whether we go back to one referee, I don’t think either team would have had an issue with the refereeing last week because he knows how he wants to referee the game and he views it the same for both teams, that is just my point of view.
For the record, the penalty count read 7-4 against the Storm.
Melbourne will have six days to cool off before the travel to face South Sydney next Friday night.