Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and chief executive Brian Waldron have issued an apology to the NRL judiciary, 11 days after their comments following Cameron Smith’s grapple tackle suspension.
Both Bellamy and Waldron said it was never their intention to question the integrity or reputation of judiciary members who banned Storm skipper Smith for Melbourne’s final two matches of the season.
Judiciary members Darrell Williams, Royce Ayliffe and Darren Britt last week started defamation proceedings against the Storm duo.
“I repeat at no stage did I intend to question the integrity or reputation of the members of the judiciary,” Bellamy said in a club statement.
“I acknowledge that the judiciary members made their decision honestly, based on what they saw as the merits of the case.
“I apologise for any hurt or distress my comments may have caused.”
Waldron expressed the same sentiments in the statement.
“The Melbourne Storm is passionate about the game of rugby league,” he added.
“We wish to emphasise that it was never the club’s intention to hurt or damage our game, or anyone associated with it.
“We regret any such perception, if that has occurred.”
The panel members had stated that they were seeking an apology before Sunday’s grand final, when Melbourne were beaten 40-0 by Manly.
There is no word yet on whether the judiciary members will proceed with their legal action.