In the schoolyard argument between Craig Bellamy and NRL 360 host Paul Kent, the Melbourne Storm have gone running to the teacher.
The veteran coach and the high-profile rugby league journalist engaged in a war of words last week after Kent fired up over Felise Kaufusi’s dangerous tackle on Ryan Matterson in round two.
The co-host of the nightly Fox Sports NRL show said the elbow Kaufusi landed to the Parramatta star’s head was “gutless” and suggested he should have been suspended for “six to eight weeks” instead of the two-match ban he was handed.
Bellamy described the idea of an eight-week suspension as “ridiculous”, which sparked another fiery response as Kent listed all the controversial tackles introduced to the game during Bellamy’s tenure.
“All right let me just say this, Grapple tackle, chicken wing, rolling pin, hip drop, crusher, crocodile rolls, cannon balls, ankle twists,” Kent said on NRL 360.
“The only constant in Melbourne since 2005 when all those tackles have been brought in and later banned in the game is the head coach Craig Bellamy. So I think the less advice we take from Craig Bellamy about the welfare of players the better.
“And you can go to town on that because you know what? They are the ones that are doing it. The game is now producing rules to counter what Melbourne are trying to introduce. I’ve got no stock in it.”
That appeared to be the final straw for the Storm, who sent an official complaint to the NRL, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The powerhouse club also sent a letter to its members defending its 61-year-old leader.
“This week, our coach of the last 19 years was, in our view, unfairly criticised by particular commentators,” Storm CEO Justin Rodski said.
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“As a club, we appreciate the media has a job to do each week reporting on our great game and our broadcasters are critical to growing our game and giving our fans the chance to watch their team play week in, week out.
“A large majority of journalists and reporters play fair too. But, on this occasion, we believe the line was crossed and have taken the matter up with the NRL and Fox Sports. It’s only fair we do so.
“Craig Bellamy is a person of the highest character and integrity, he is a legend of the game, and he deserves to be respected and celebrated for the contribution he has made to the Melbourne Storm and the NRL.
“But most importantly, he is loved by his players, his coaching group, his staff and by the broader Melbourne Storm community, including our members. Let’s make sure we get behind our coach and our team next Friday and show the rest of the competition what the Melbourne Storm is made of.”
Expect Kent to respond on NRL 360 tonight at 6.30pm.
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