NRL: Storm forced to defend wrestling tactics ahead of grand final qualifier with Canberra

Storm forward Kevin Proctor is tackled by the North Queensland Cowboys defence. Photo / Getty Images.
Storm forward Kevin Proctor is tackled by the North Queensland Cowboys defence. Photo / Getty Images.

Melbourne have dismissed fresh claims that they are playing dirty in the ruck area ahead of their NRL grand final qualifier with Canberra.

The Storm and Raiders will meet at AAMI Park on Saturday night with Melbourne again forced to defend their wrestling tactics following allegations by North Queensland that it injured three players during their recent qualifying final.

North Queensland backrower Ethan Lowe suffered a season-ending spinal injury in the AAMI Park match with North Queensland coach Paul Green lodging an official complaint about the tackle with the NRL.

The Storm say there's bad blood between the two clubs over recruitment and pre- match comments by Green about Melbourne's defensive tactics, which led to the Storm themselves lodging a complaint.

Melbourne contacted the Cowboys medical staff over the weekend following the allegations and were told there was nothing illegal in the tackle, which Lowe himself supported.

NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan told the Storm on Monday that there would be no further action on the matter.

Melbourne centre Cheyse Blair, who was involved in the tackle early in the match, said he could barely recall it before reviewing footage.

"I looked at it and the tackle looked fine," Blair said. "It was just one of those awkward tackles and it was unlucky for him."

Blair defended the Storm's wrestling tactics, saying every club did it.

"Obviously we just do it better I suppose," Blair said. "It's all about trying to do the best for your mates so if you can slow the play down a bit, it's going to be better for us."

The Storm players had a spring in their step on Monday following a light schedule of training after earning a week off with their qualifying final win.

"It's been great on the body having a couple of days off," Blair said. "We had a game simulation on Saturday and trained really well so we're really looking forward to this weekend."

Blair started his rugby league career at the Sydney Roosters where he played alongside Canberra livewire Joey Leilua, who he will mark on Saturday night.

"He was a freak back then and obviously right now he's playing some outstanding footy and has been the best centre in the game this year so I'm really looking forward to the contest," Blair said.

- AAP

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