Storm facing
$15,000 fine

The Melbourne Storm is facing a $15,000 fine over its criticism of the National Rugby League judiciary after suspended second rower Michael Crocker claimed he was victimised because he is a Queensland Origin contender.

Crocker accepted an early guilty plea after being charged with a grade four dangerous throw for his tackle on South Sydney forward Shane Rigon. The guilty plea sees the in-form backrower rubbed out for nine matches, including all three games of the State of Origin series.

The NRL has taken exception to comments made by Crocker, Storm chief executive Brian Waldron and coach Craig Bellamy over the judicial system. It has issued the club with a breach notice outlining a proposed $15,000 fine over the comments, with the club given five days to respond.

Crocker claimed he was being victimised by the judiciary because of his poor record and Queensland allegiance. Waldron meanwhile took a swipe at what he called a lack of respect from within the rugby league fraternity towards the Victorian-based side.

NRL chief executive David Gallop said the Storm's reactions yesterday were offensive to the judicial process.