Craig Bellamy responds to backlash over Cameron Smith’s NZ Warriors locker room address

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Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has defended the decision to address the NZ Warriors inside their locker room following the two sides’ Round 7 clash.

Following a comprehensive 50-6 win, Bellamy, Storm skipper Cameron Smith and assistant Ryan Hoffman entered the rival locker room to express their gratitude for the immense sacrifice made by the New Zealanders.

However, the sporting gesture was slammed by some on social media, with Smith copping the ire of those who believed his gesture of respect was condescending.

Speaking to Nine News, Bellamy set the record straight on the now-infamous locker room address, refuting suggestions that the Storm had caught the Warriors off guard.

“We didn’t barge in there. We asked our footy manager, Frank Ponissi, when to see (Warriors captain) Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) to make sure that was okay,” he said.

Bellamy also added that the criticism levelled at both he and Smith for the gesture was something that was predictable.

“Nothing surprises me anymore. I haven’t spoken to (Warriors coach) Todd (Payten) after that so I don’t know what his feelings were on it,” he said.

“For me, I don’t really care what other people think, at the end of the day, we were really feeling for those guys.

“We just thought we’d try and show them support and say thanks for what they’re doing for our competition.”

Bellamy’s defence of Smith came after NRL great Paul Gallen also backed up his former rival, saying he was a victim of tall poppy syndrome.

“I had Ryan Hoffman talk about it on the [Sunday] Footy Show and he addressed it; they were really concerned that it was going to look condescending or patronising to the Warriors,” Gallen said on Wide World of Sports’ The Final Whistle.

“I’m really glad that he addressed that because when you first see that vision, I think a lot of people can understand why you’d think that. How would [Warriors caretaker coach] Todd Payten feel if the opposition coach and captain came in?

“The social media stuff’s just tall poppy syndrome against Cam Smith. I wouldn’t be too worried about that and I doubt Cameron Smith would be worried either.

“I’m glad the Melbourne Storm addressed it and after hearing that and the reason they went in there, I think it was pretty good by the Melbourne Storm.”

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