Frustrated Melbourne Storm mentor Craig Bellamy was beside himself following Melbourne's dramatic 32-30 loss to the Newcastle Knights.
With his team appearing to be home and hosed at different points throughout the game, two tries in the final three minutes through Travis Waddell and Akuila Uate saw the Storm fall to a dramatic two point loss.
Bellamy however wasn't so much focused on his side’s defensive effort, rather choosing to criticise referee Ashley Klein off the back of Melbourne conceding 11 penalties to Newcastle's mere three indiscretions.
"I'm gutted. I'm disappointed with the way we defended to be quite honest but I'm really disappointed in the way the game was refereed. It was 7-0 penalty-wise in the second half and the ones where we drove them over the sideline, the tackle was still in full motion, the attacker still had both feet on the ground and we get penalised for that," Bellamy told reporters after the game.
"If he doesn't go over the sideline, the referee would've taken it back to where he called held. You're allowed to drive [in the tackle] and we copped two of those penalties and they scored twice from them but even then there were other things that we were penalised for and it is hard to compete.
"Ashley Klein obviously doesn't like the way we play our footy. There have been that many times this season when we have had him and the penalty count hasn't even been close. I don't know... but every time we seem to have Ashley we are on the wrong end of the penalty count. Seven penalties in a half of footy though..."
Storm captain Cameron Smith acknowledged his coach's qualms before expressing his own problems with the referee after the game, though smartly refused to mention that he had any run-ins with Klein.
"I had a conversation with Ashley a couple of times mainly because Newcastle were given a penalty for things that I believe were done earlier in the game," Smith said.
"One in particular was a penalty against us for obstruction. Newcastle did that in the first half and they played on for another 15 metres across field yet we were penalised. I was just asking the question as to why they were receiving the penalties and we weren't."
While Smith and Bellamy recognised their problems with refereeing decisions, the coach in particular wasn't prepared to put all the blame on the officials.
"Our defensive performance wasn't good enough," Bellamy said. "I'm not trying to blame it all on the officials but as I said it is hard to compete with the penalties."
With Melbourne temporarily missing their chance to enter the top four, their match-up against the Cronulla Sharks next weekend will prove a test as to whether they can bounce back from such a devastating loss.