Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has opened up on his speech in the Warriors' changeroom following on from the Storm's 50-6 win over New Zealand in Round 7, stating the gesture wasn't supposed to be received as condescending, per Fox Sports.
Smith was unaware that he and Craig Bellamy were caught on film, with the Melbourne pair throwing their support behind the Warriors players.
Due to a COVID-19 effected season, the Warriors were relocated to Australia to keep the NRL season alive, taking on a major sacrifice for the rest of the competition as they were separated from their families.
In late June, The Warriors faced a dominant Storm side shortly after sacking coach Stephen Kearney, with Todd Payten leading the team for the first time.
The entire 80 minutes was an ugly sight for Warriors fans as the Storm ran in nine tries against their cross-Tasman rivals.
"I got a bit emotional"
Ryan Hoffman sheds light on what he, Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy said to the Warriors after the game.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) June 28, 2020
Many critics saw Smith's post-match engagement with the deflated side as a sinister gesture, as some believed the speech wouldn't have been taken well by members in the Warriors camp.
Mentioned in his newly released autobiography The Storm Within, Smith revealed he was surprised by the reaction and admitted the gesture was to thank the Warriors and not seek attention onto himself.
“We owed them a lot,” Smith writes.
“The least we could do was thank them, as other clubs had done.
“Other teams had delivered a tribute on the field, but that wasn’t my style. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with that, but if you’ve read this far (in the book) you’ll have realised I don’t do things to get pats on the back.”
Smith added that he told the Auckland outfit to “keep your heads up and look after each other”.
“That’s all I said,” Smith writes.
“The next day, we were hammered by some in the media for rubbing their noses in it after winning the game. I didn’t expect anything less!
“The Warriors were shattered after the loss, but they weren’t hostile towards us at all.
“We didn’t go in there out of pity. We were thanking them for what they were doing.
“If I’d seen the camera in the corner of the dressing room, I would’ve covered it up. For starters, it got a great shot of the bald spot on the back of my head.
“Second, I didn’t want the media to see a private moment between us and the Warriors.”