By STEVE MASCORD
STORM captain Cameron Smith and coach Craig Bellamy last night openly criticised a decision by five-eighth Gareth Widdop to kick with just over a minute left in the streak-ending loss to Canberra
Melbourne’s bid to equal the feat of the 1975 Eastern Suburbs Roosters by winning 19 matches in a row came acropper at 15 when the Raiders shocked Craig Bellamy’s side 24-20 at AAMI Park.
Home fans gasped as Englishman Widdop kicked for Slater after a scrum with more than a minute of football to play.
“Did you see my reaction out there? Check out the replay,” said hooker Smith.
“I’m all for guys backing themselves to put on plays and execute plays well but I believe that we had a fair bit of time up our sleeve there
“The scrum was in their half or around halfway and we had possibly the chance to play a whole set there. If Gareth had his time again, he probably would have held onto that.
“I don’t know who the call was from. Bill was chasing and those guys had a bit of communication but it wouldn’t be a play that I would have put on.”
Bellamy added: “It was a poor play. I don’t know who called it. They had five guys on that open side and a couple of them, in the end there, would have been expecting the kick.
“Edrick Lee was back . If you’re going to kick there, you’ve got to kick straight, not over their outside backs.”
Canberra ended the Storm’s winning run despite being reduced to two reserves for much of the match, while hooker Glen Buttriss played for 30 minutes with a compound fracture of the finger.
According to the Storm pair, the loss has become coming for weeks. Smith even said his men took home victories for granted.
“There’s a bit of a feeling out there that we think we just have to turn up and because we’re playing at AAMI Park and we’re wearing a Storm jersey, it’s just going to happen for us,” he said.
“Clearly it isn’t. We’ve nearly been rolled the last two games. We need a huge turnaround in our attitude.”
Bellamy said: “This has been coming. Our last three home games have been like this. We’ve only started playing when we’ve got in trouble.
“That’s a trait I don’t particularly like in a football team.
“We were probably a bit lucky against the Tigers and against the Warriors and perhaps our lucky ran out tonight. We were pretty poor on our edges.
“The Raiders, they were more committed than us and certainly a lot more determined than us.
“Perhaps they (players) might be expecting a bit more of a workload in the next couple of weeks.”
Filed for: SUNDAY AGE