‘Pathetic’ Sydney crowd slammed
STORM captain Cameron Smith has declared Billy Slater deserved better than the hostile reception he received from the ANZ Stadium crowd during his team's grand final loss.
Slater was regularly heckled with a chorus of boos - even before stepping onto the field - as his fairytale farewell turned into a miserable send off as the Storm slumped to a 21-6 loss to the Roosters.
Smith hit out at Slater's treatment from Sydney fans, declaring the star No. 1 deserved more respect.
Asked if the crowd were disrespectful, Storm captain Smith said: "I don't think there is any other way to say that.
"He's only ever been someone good for the game, I think he deserved a bit more respect than that."
Slater was booed during the pre-game ceremony for the game's retiring players.
He was often booed when returning kicks.
His final on-field interview was also marred by the crowd booing Slater when his interview with Brad Fittler was shown on the big screens inside the stadium.
The lack of respect angered many NRL commentators.
Earlier, Slater was also heckled when vision of him preparing for the game in the dressing rooms was shown on the big screen.
That also angered commentators.
Slater was philosophical after the game, trying to give the Roosters centre stage.
"It's now how it's panned out, that's footy," Slater said.
"We tried our best but that's the way it goes. I'm really grateful for the career I've had, the friends I've made and what rugby league has done for me.
"It taught me lots of things - selflessness, respect. I appreciate everything everyone has done for me
"We didn't help ourselves. We dropped the ball…we couldn't handle their big guys. That's footy. It's the way it went."
MUNSTER SETS RECORD WITH SIN BIN HORROR
Cameron Munster has become the first player in recorded rugby league history to be sent to the bin twice in a grand final.
The star five-eighth also made a series of errors, missed three tackles and spilled the ball twice.
He was speechless after being sent to the sin bin for the second time in the 78th minute when he was busted kicking Roosters centre Joseph Manu in the head as he lay on the ground.
Munster only made light contact to Manu's head, but it was enough for him to be given an early night.
He had earlier cost the Storm its first try when he failed to pass the ball when there were three unmarked men on the Storm's left edge as Joseph Manu made a certain try-saving tackle.
It just wasn't his night.
NRL guru Phil Gould accused Munster of inexperience and immaturity.
"For the last few sets of six, a couple of the Storm players have been looking for some cheap victories. He gets up and, bang, kicks him in the back of the head," he said.
"It wasn't a big one. He has been running into tackles, the game is over and that is frustration. I think it is a send-off."
SMITH HINTS AT STORM CONTRACT SNAG
Cameron Smith insists he's keen to play on next NRL season after losing Sunday's NRL grand final to the Sydney Roosters. Smith's future appeared cloudy after refusing to commit to another year after suggesting he could bow out with a premiership on Sunday.
However those dreams were dashed when the Storm went down by three tries at halftime at ANZ Stadium and failed to reel the Roosters in.
The 35-year-old Smith, who is on track to become the first player to crack the 400-game barrier, then addressed his future immediately after the match. He is currently unsigned, and his experience will be vital for a Storm side that will be without the now-retired Billy Slater next year.
"If I get a contract I will play next year," Smith told the Nine Network post- game.
"It's going to take a few weeks to get over the results, but life goes on and then start planning for next year." Smith conceded the Storm let themselves down with a poor first half effort, and struggled to find an injured Cooper Cronk in attack.
Cronk was only asked to make eight tackles, missing none.
"We put a game plan together during the week based on him playing, we never ever thought he wasn't going to play," Smith said.
"He did a good job to hide tonight, he was switching sides and getting into positions where we couldn't really get to him." Smith's future won't be the only contract the Storm will be keen to tie up in the summer, with star five-eighth Cameron Munster also in the sights of rival clubs.
Munster can field offers when he enters his final year of his deal on November 1.