[News] Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp unloads on arrogance of Penrith Panthers over Greg Alexander’s wrestling allegations

“When you consider the amount of supporters and members we have, and the eyeballs we attract in broadcast, [would that happen] if we played an ugly and illegal brand of footy?

“To suggest that we do is both unfounded and incorrect.”

‘To make unfounded and stupid comments … just goes to the arrogance of that club and their perceived status in the game at the moment.’

Storm co-owner Matt Tripp on the Panthers

Speaking on air on Friday, Alexander said: “I think history shows – and it’s not a stretch for me to jump to a Melbourne Storm conclusion – that the grapple, the chicken wing, the rolling pin, the crusher, the hip drop, I think they all emanate out of Melbourne.”

Tripp believes the comments were timed for maximum effect; to influence referees before the big season-ending games.

“The timing for him couldn’t be better,” Tripp said. “It’s a week out from playing one of his biggest threats in the competition, and now he has come out to throw rocks at them. If that’s not abusing your position of power, I don’t know what is.

“He gets paid to have an opinion, to produce rubbish clickbait, and he’s done a good job of that on this occasion by creating a stir over something that isn’t true.

“In a paid job when you make stupid comments like that, you should be held accountable.”

Storm hooker Brandon Smith escaped suspension for a hip-drop tackle on Gold Coast’s Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on Friday night. Playing his first game back from a three-match suspension for referee dissent, Smith was placed on report for the tackle during the win but was permitted to remain on the field.

Unlike most hip drops, Smith was the second man into the tackle, not the third, and appeared to slide onto Fa’asuamaleaui’s legs rather than make a concerted effort to tackle them.

Fa’asuamaleaui left the field after the tackle but later returned to play. The match review committee imposed a grade-one dangerous contact charge, which carries a $1800 fine if Smith takes an early plea.

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Smith’s tackle comes after a week of headlines concerning hip-drop tackles, which have the potential to cause serious leg injuries. Brisbane’s Patrick Carrigan was referred directly to the judiciary and banned for four weeks for a hip-drop tackle that broke Jackson Hastings’ fibula in a loss to the Wests Tigers.

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