In what can only be described as a bizarre fracas, recent reports have surfaced that state Cameron Smith is unhappy with a pair of head coaches.
Fox Sports journalist George Clarke reported Wednesday morning that the Storm star is at loggerheads with Ricky Stuart, as well his own mentor Craig Bellamy, following a leaks that the Melbourne Hooker’s wife received $15,000 ring from the league.
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Following the Storm skipper’s 400th game last season, it was reported that his wife Barb was gifted a diamond ring to commemorate the milestone.
Clarke’s also stated that although the ring, among many other gifts, had been bestowed, former NRL CEO Todd Greenberg failed to declare the gift.
Following previous public reports about the transaction, Smith is of the belief that Stuart leaked the story to journalist Paul Kent in an effort to unsettle the Storm star before their clash with Stuart’s Raiders earlier this year.
After the Raiders Round three victory of the Storm in Melbourne, Bellamy and Stuart were said to have shared a beer in the home team’s rooms, a move that allegedly angered Smith.
The pair of head coaches have shared a friendship since their playing days in Canberra, but Smith’s suspicions that Stuart was the culprit in leaking the story, Smith was reported to feel betrayed by Bellamy.
On Tuesday night, via his regular platform as NRL360 co-host, Kent poured cold water on Smith’s suspicions.
“[About] the blue with Cameron and Craig, why now? I know the conspiracy theory out of Melbourne is you’re trying to unsettle them,” Kent said.
“The fact is it’s relevant, the story is that I wrote the ring story about Cameron and Cameron was of the belief that Ricky Stuart for whatever reason told me so I ran it the day before Canberra and Melbourne played.
“It was [claimed the story was] deliberately set up to unsettle them – which is complete garbage.
“After the game Ricky Stuart went in to have a beer with Craig.
“Cameron got upset, because he felt it was disloyal by Craig to be having a beer with Ricky when he believed Ricky was the one behind it, which categorically that’s not the case.
“The story was relevant, every time Ricky and Craig come up against each other we all write about their friendship because they’re great mates.”
Despite suggestions that the brouhaha was said to have placed a strain on the pair’s relationship, Kent stated categorically that Smith and Bellamy had resolved their issues.
“I believe it’s all sorted, but first Craig wasn’t aware of it,” Kent said.
“It was told to me that at one point it really threatened to tear them apart. That’s the first real rift in their friendship in over 18 years. They’ve sorted it out, they’re grown-ups.”
The plot in this strange standoff is only set to thicken with Canberra and Melbourne set to do battle in a Preliminary Final this Friday night.