SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Brandon Smith of the Storm gestures to the crowd with ice on his hand during the round one NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at CommBank Stadium, on March 12, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Brandon Smith has apologised for an outburst against referee Adam Gee during Thursday night's horror loss to the Cronulla Sharks.

Smith, who has struggled to hit the peaks of his form this season and will move to the Sydney Roosters next year, started at hooker during the clash in the Shire with Harry Grant away on Queensland Maroons' State of Origin duty ahead of the decider next Wednesday.

Deep into the second half, a visibly frustrated Smith appeared to be held down with a second effort in a tackle.

Upon not receiving a penalty or call of six again from Adam Gee, he was seen to be talking in the direction of Gee who immediately blew a penalty for the Sharks and put Smith in the bin.

The drama didn't end there, with Smith then stopping on his way to the dressing rooms to address a fan who had said something in his direction.

The microphones didn't pick up either Smith's comments, or those of the fan, but they did catch Gee saying that he wouldn't repeat the comment made in his direction when asked by other Melbourne players.

Smith said that he has already apologised to Gee after the game.

“I lost my temper and it’s very disappointing on my behalf. I let not only myself, but all my teammates down. That’s not good enough on my behalf,” Smith said.

“I went in and apologised to him afterwards. I just lost my cool at the time, and I’ve got to be better than that. [Gee] was all good, he just said ‘I can’t cop that’, and I said ‘sorry I took my frustration out on you’. I was probably just annoyed at my own performance."

Melbourne ultimately lost the game 28 points to 6, with Craig Bellamy telling the post match press conference that it "wouldn't happen again."

“I don’t know what happened there. That looked like it was going to be one of our best sets, we had a bit of line speed. Then all of a sudden I thought we were getting a penalty, but he ended up in the bin,” Bellamy said.

“I don’t know what he said. We don’t want our players showing that sort of disrespect for the referees. I can only say it won’t happen again.

“I don’t know why he would say something then. The referee obviously did it for a reason. I’ll have a bit of a chat to Brandon and see what happened there.”

Smith could face a contrary conduct charge over the incident, although as a first offence he will only receive a fine with an early guilty plea unless he is referred straight to the judiciary.

The charge sheet - which could also feature Briton Nikora, Andrew Fifita and Braden Hamlin-Uele, will be released on Friday.