A sin bin for Chris Sandow 20 minutes from time has left a bitter taste in the mouth of Eels coach Brad Arthur following Sunday’s 46-20 loss to the Storm.
With eight points separating the two sides and the game well and truly in the balance, Sandow was sent from the field for derogatory comments made to referee Ben Cummins.
A penalty was awarded to Storm metres from the try-line which did not impress Sandow, who asked Cummins how much he was being paid, according to Cummins' explanation to Eels skipper Jarryd Hayne as he sent Sandow from the field.
With the Eels reduced to 12 men Melbourne scored three tries in the next 10 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.
Arthur was left scathing at the crucial decision after the match.
"It needs to be a two way street with the respect shown to the players and the referee,” said Arthur.
"I think it was pretty trivial, I think we need to grow up a bit and get on with refereeing the game… we have just got to referee the game as we see it.
"The players are out there busting their arse, they are making tackle after tackle after tackle and they just want an even share of the ball."
For the record the final penalty count was 8-7 in favour of the Storm.
Controversy aside the Eels never recovered from a dismal start to the game, in which they trailed 18-0 within the opening 25 minutes.
The visitors played nothing like a side that had won four of its past five games, completing a just over 70 per cent for the game, well behind Melbourne's 87 per cent.
The Eels managed to trim the margin to eight just before halftime but that was as close as they got before Melbourne piled on five second half tries to runaway with the points.
Insult was added to injury just before halftime when English Test prop Lee Mossop, in just his third game back from shoulder surgery, dislocated his shoulder and played no further part in the game.
A win would have entrenched the Eels in the top eight just two competition points behind ladder-leaders Manly but instead they return home back amidst the chasing pack and will finish the round clinging on the eight place.
The Eels will have an eight-day break before hosting the Knights next Sunday afternoon.