No formal action will be taken against Cameron Smith for his comments to referee Gerrard Sutton in last Sunday’s grand final, however NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has confirmed he will “have a chat” with the Storm skipper.
Smith didn’t agree with the 71st minute sin-binning of halfback Jahrome Hughes and accused Sutton of trying to make “an exciting finish.”
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“The last three or four penalties they have got is little very picky stuff and we have got nothing mate,” Smith said to Sutton.
“I get it, everyone wants an exciting finish. But we are just the same as them. Stop trying to pick little things out of our game to make an exciting finish.”
The match review committee decided the comments were not a form of contrary conduct and therefore the 37-year-old was cleared of any punishment.
But Abdo plans on speaking to Smith personally during his season debrief with the Storm.
“I think Cameron could have been smarter with his choice of words but there’s going to be no formal action taken by the match review committee and we’ll respect that,” Abdo said.
“At some point, I’ll have a conversation with the Storm … and have a chat to Cameron about that.”
Abdo cannot overrule the match review committee but he can govern on-field incidents that include vilification, abuse of harassment, meaning he is entitled to sanction Smith informally if he wants to.
Sutton may have been fine to ignore Smith’s comments, but former referee Bill Harrigan says he would have punished the captain right there and then.
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“He wasn’t accusing the ref of cheating, but he came close,” Harrigan told Wide World of Sports.
“It was close to the mark and I would have said to him: ‘I don’t like what you are implying – go and have 10 minutes in the bin.’
“I have nothing against the bloke and admire the way he does whatever it takes to win – it’s terrific.
“But he clearly has the referees bluffed and they don’t stand up to him.”
Harrigan refereed a record 10 grand finals and 21 State of Origins. He was never afraid to come down hard on players, even sending Queensland legend Gorden Tallis off for calling him a cheat in the series opener in 2000.
“In my day, I didn’t care who the player was – I sent the likes of Gorden Tallis, John Hopoate, Geoff Toovey and Peter Jackson off for calling me a cheat,” Harrigan said.
“There are some things that just aren’t on.”