The Storm were left bemused by a 30th-minute ruling in their 34-14 loss to the Dragons at Jubilee Oval that denied a try to winger Josh Addo-Carr at a crucial juncture in the game.
Trailing 10-4 but with some momentum, a Sam Kasiano play-the-ball in front of the posts resulted in a quick shift to the left for Addo-Carr to plant down in the corner.
Referee Matt Cecchin called play back for a penalty to the visiting team because of interference by McInnes in the play-the-ball by Sam Kasiano after pocket referee Chris Butler had seemingly tried to draw his attention to an infringement in the ruck.
"Unacceptable. Cecch! Cecch!" Butler said as he tries to grab Cecchin's attention. Cecchin, as the lead referee, was following the ball as Storm fullback Billy Slater fed Addo-Carr to put him in the clear, crossing the line untouched.
"Play-the-ball is unacceptable fellas - cannot play on from that," Cecchin told the Storm after blowing the penalty and calling Storm players back.
A converted try at that point would have locked up scores 10-10. Instead it ended up 12-4 at half-time after two more Storm tries – by Cameron Munster and Suliasi Vunivalu – were also overruled.
"It's probably the rule, if the infringement happens before [the play-the-ball]," Storm coach Craig Bellamy conceded after the game.
"It seems though it's quite a crazy decision but the referees have probably got it right to the rule book I'd imagine."
Smith said the officials had told him on-field the play had to be called back.
"It was a really, really strange one today and to me, do we go on to win the game if we score that try? I'm not too sure," Smith said.
"We may not have but it was a pretty crucial part of the game. If we score a try there it's guaranteed four points, if I kick the goal, it's six, we come back, they turn us away from their try line, go up there other end and get a penalty goal, it's a six or eight point turnaround to the Dragons. Very strange one."
Smith also provided an update on a 42nd minute try to Cameron McInnes which came after Smith fell off the tackle and lay on the ground in pain to leave a gap in the defensive line after seemingly copping a blow to the groin from Jeremy Latimore.
"I got hit in my very very sensitive parts," Smith said.
Asked if the hit was intentional, he added: "I thought I was in a position in the tackle where I can't really get caught up in any stray elbows and knees, put it that way.
"I can't remember ever falling off a tackle in that position that close to the try line. I don't think I ever have in my entire career. The referees obviously didn't see anything or feel like there was any foul play so that's the way it went."
Controversy aside, Bellamy was otherwise fairly upbeat despite the result, which he said highlighted that the Storm had some work to do to catch up to what he described as the Telstra Premiership's benchmark team in the Dragons.
"I thought we were still in the game at half-time without a doubt," Bellamy said.
"It felt like we were putting a few dints in them the last 15 minutes before half-time but they scored two quick tries in the second half and made it really hard for us there and it looked like we were treading water. I thought we finished the game strongly so that's a little plus.
"What we took from today is, they're the benchmark. We know now that we've got some work to do. They are the benchmark without a doubt, they've been playing great footy all season. If we want to play some footy in September we need to improve."