Players’ families are usually a no-go zone for media. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Players’ families are usually a no-go zone for media. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Cameron Smith’s frustration as wife targeted

Cameron Smith has come out swinging at attacks on his credibility and opened up about the pain of criticism directed at his wife as the Storm skipper prepares to lead Melbourne's title charge in the finals.

Melbourne's qualifying final with Canberra this Saturday night at AAMI Park will prise open old wounds after Smith was accused of grubby tactics in their clash with the Raiders at the same venue last month.

Television images appeared to show Smith pulling the ears of Raiders rookie Bailey Simonsson in the ruck, sparking outrage over Melbourne's conduct following the grapple-tackle and chicken-wing sagas of the past decade.

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Smith denies twisting Simonsson’s ears. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
Smith denies twisting Simonsson’s ears. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour

 

Further investigations suggested the alleged ear-pulling was in fact an optical illusion with Smith instead grabbing the jumper of Simonsson in the vicinity of his ears. The Storm skipper was also alleged to have squeezed Simonsson's temples.

Speaking for the first time about the allegations, Smith hit out at suggestions he is a dirty player as he attempts to steer Melbourne to a fourth consecutive grand-final appearance.

"It's quite clear from the vision that I have got a hold of his jersey," he said.

 

 

"I was disappointed with the coverage but again that's out of my control, for whatever reason it was portrayed that way.

"They painted a picture that I went in and grabbed the bloke's ear, but I didn't go anywhere near his ear.

"I wasn't trying to do that at all, I was trying to buy some time for myself and the defensive side to hold him down on the ground and I grabbed him by the jersey.

"My hands ended up around his head, absolutely, I can't deny that, but I didn't go anywhere near his ear and I wasn't trying to squeeze his temples. I was trying to control him on the ground and people got a bit upset."

 

Players’ families are usually a no-go zone for media. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Players’ families are usually a no-go zone for media. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

 

Just a week after the ear-pulling drama, Smith was buffeted by more criticism, this time for his wife Barbara receiving a diamond ring from the NRL to celebrate his record 400th game milestone.

The former Queensland skipper says he is happy to cop brickbats for his on-field performances but believes attacks on his family are a low blow.

"It wasn't so much the personal cracks but bringing family into the reporting," he said.

"I wanted people to make sure people knew my thoughts on that and really I thought I established my thoughts on the media and the type of reporting that I am OK with: on players' performances and form.

 

The couple have had to weather the storm. Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett
The couple have had to weather the storm. Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

 

"Criticism is part of the game. I signed up to be an NRL player. To bring in personal attacks and family, that's not on. I'm not just saying that about myself. That's any athlete's family. I just think that's off-limits.

"My wife is alright. It's not the first time she's been in a paper. The thing that upset me most is she is a wife or partner who has tried her very best to stay out of the news. She's never wanted any part of being involved in the media.

"But somehow she's found herself dragged into it. She's OK. She's a strong woman. Unfortunately, it's a by-product of my job."


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