Storm allowed to dictate wrestle: Robinson
The Storm were allowed to do as they pleased when it came to wrestling in the ruck in their 20-18 qualifying final win at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, according to Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
The Storm won a relatively low penalty count 5-4, and after Ryan Hinchcliffe and Cameron Smith were penalised for being too slow off the ruck in just the third minute you got the sense the refs were having none of it.
But there were just eight further penalties against both sides for the rest of the 80 minutes, including a couple of offside penalties and a couple for not being square at marker.
"There were no penalties in that area. The ref just let it go really," Robinson said.
"There was no reffing of that area. We knew that's [Melbourne's] style, they've been doing it for 10 years. The game has moved on a bit this year – probably not as much tonight as it has over the last few weeks as well at different times so there wasn't really any reffing of that area."
He said the coaches know finals are refereed differently to regular season games.
"They pull out of the game and they know that. They just stopped reffing that area. They only were there for errors, that's what they were there for.
"That opens the door for a lot of teams this weekend.
"It's our biggest product so they've decided on a style of play that they want to play this year. There has been a change of interpretation to allow that but you should also allow teams to work it out for themselves and they should step in when that's not being adhered to and that wasn't quite the case tonight."
Robinson wasn't blaming the officiating for the result though, insisting his side was outplayed and needed to improve next week.
"There's a few things there [to improve on]. The speed of the ruck was there at different times for us but we just didn't have enough numbers on the ball to make the most of them.
"The finish of our sets, there was quite a lot of 20-metre restarts. We just [need to] to finish off better and put them under a little bit more pressure. I thought our tackling could have improved as well.
"It didn't go our way tonight, Melbourne came with a game plan and they played it well and simply and they won."
Roosters captain Jake Friend said the side now needs to put that one behind them and move on.
"Finals are week by week and it didn't go our way tonight. We've just got to rest up and work it out and get ready for who we play next weekend."
That will be the winner of the Bulldogs-Dragons elimination final contested at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Robinson said he was hopeful injured halfback Mitch Pearce would return from a hamstring strain for that one, and added his side picked up no fresh injury concerns out of the Melbourne game.