Melbourne chairman Matt Tripp confirmed he had reached out to club great Cameron Smith after the former ex-Storm skipper was critical of the club’s handling of the video scandal.
Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis are set to hit the media next week after a video of their post-season celebrations was leaked on social media.
The trio will face heavy fines from the NRL and are likely to be banned before the start of next season.
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Melbourne CEO Justin Rodski released a statement more than 24 hours after the video hit the internet, sparking criticism at the club for not handling the matter properly.
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Smith told SEN Radio that his former club was too slow to address the issue and described their actions as “baffling”.
Tripp said he contacted Smith after his radio interview and partly blamed the club’s late response on the imminent threat of a rescheduling of the NRL grand final.
“I spoke to ‘Smitty’ [Smith] Last night I clarified a few things that he was not aware of, and he is more than comfortable with the way the club has handled it,” Tripp told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We never wanted this to fester, it’s against the wishes of the Melbourne Storm and we would have nipped this in the bud 24 hours after we became aware of it.
“But the NRL asked us to deal with it in sync. We are still waiting for their verdict and are doing everything we can to get a verdict. But they have also made it known that they have to make sure that the grand final continues because of the [COVID-19] scared there.
“In terms of Smitty’s criticism of the players, it’s hard to disagree with him. We’re disappointed. They apologize a lot. Tuesday you’ll see how remorseful they are.”
“It’s really about their well-being and we have to take care of these guys. They are angry because they know they made a bad choice and the consequences are greater than they ever expected.
“There is zero tolerance at the club, we strive to be better than most, and we have to solve that.”
Smith expressed his annoyance with his former teammates for allowing “outsiders” to make video of them.
“These guys know the rules; it’s illegal in society and in the rugby league game,” Smith said.
“I would like to think that they are smarter than the way they acted.
“To let outsiders into a room and they have phones filming… it’s mind-boggling to watch these guys make these bad choices.”
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