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Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy should be celebrating in the lead-up to his 300th game in charge of the Storm on Friday night but instead he is still stewing over what he views are refereeing inconsistencies.
The passionate mentor and Storm officials met with representatives of the NRL at Melbourne headquarters on Tuesday to address the club's ongoing concern with what it views is inconsistent decision-making by the referees in 2014.
The issue reached boiling point during the Storm’s last-gasp 22-19 win over Manly last Saturday night, with a furious Bellamy talked out of fronting the team's post-match press conference for fear of being hit with a $10,000 fine.
The decision that fuelled his ire came when the video referee awarded Manly's Peta Hiku the game's opening try - despite on-field referee Shayne Hayne initially ruling 'no try' before referring the matter upstairs.
The overturned decision enraged Bellamy and many others at the club, despite their at-the-death victory.
“I was quite willing to go in there [the press conference] but the club thought it was best I didn’t. Looking back they were probably right,” Bellamy told NRL.com.
“I think I’m going to get fined anyway but I think I definitely would have been fined if I went in there on Saturday night.
“Either I’m not understanding or the inconsistency is consistent.
“I just need to understand how they could overturn the referees decision on that first try on Saturday night. On what I’ve seen in previous weeks in our games and the previous games, that just wasn’t consistent.”
Melbourne were also left stewing in Round 7 when winger Sisa Waqa had a second-half try disallowed before going down the Raiders by three points.
Storm captain Cameron Smith called on the NRL to consider going back to a one-referee system.
Bellamy admits he was a fan of the two-referee system however decisions in previous weeks have swayed his point of view.
"A few of what I see as inconsistencies... video referees overturning referees' decisions for tries on the field or nor overturning them," Bellamy said.
“I am thinking a lot more through Cameron’s eyes now. I think the inconsistencies from referees at times and the refereeing system, I think we just need to go back to the one referee,” he continued.
“At least that guy is going to have the same thoughts throughout the game, he is not going to have different thoughts to the other referee.”
On the verge of 300 games when his side steps out against the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, Bellamy enjoyed phenomenal success since taking the reins of the Victorian side in 2003.
He has guided Melbourne to seven top-four finishes in his 11 seasons in charge, including five grand final appearances and with a 67 per cent winning percentage.
Bellamy’s current contract will come to an end after the 2016 season, after which he has signalled his intention to bring the curtain down on what will be 34 years at first grade level as a player and coach.
For now though it is business as usual and it is probably no surprise that Friday night’s milestone will be the last thing on the 54-year-old’s mind.
“It is a nice milestone to get to I suppose. I’ve been really lucky to be able to coach this club and coach the players I’ve been able to coach,” said Bellamy.
“There has been some ups and downs but that is a part of life and that’s a part of sport and hopefully after last week’s performance we can get a little bit better at our performances week in, week out.”
Melbourne will take on South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, with kick-off at 7.40pm.