Bellamy swipes Nine over Footy Show snub
MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy has expressed his disappointment with Channel 9's State of Origin broadcast after it robbed Victorians of seeing the emotional scenes following Storm star Billy Slater's final game for Queensland.
The TV network cut away from the pictures at Suncorp Stadium moments after full-time, meaning fans didn't get a chance to see Slater celebrate his last representative game with his family, or his Maroons teammates as they chaired him off the field.
Viewers in NSW and Queensland caught all the action, but in Victoria, Channel 9 cut to the AFL Footy Show shortly after the final buzzer.
Bellamy said it was a shame for fans but understood the broadcaster's decision given AFL has a much higher standing than rugby league in the state.
"I was (disappointed), honestly, but I think all league fans would be," Bellamy told reporters on Friday morning.
"But having said that, we are in Melbourne and AFL's the kingpin in sport down here so they went straight to The Footy Show.
"We're all a little bit disappointed we didn't see a little bit more of the celebrations for Billy ... I think we saw him on his haunches for about five or six seconds and then it all cut out.
"I'm not being critical of that … they've got their scheduling and all that ... but it would have been a bit disappointing for all the Storm people and Melbourne people in general to see the end of what has been a great Origin career and to finish on that note was great for Billy."
Bellamy said Slater was an unlikely starter for Melbourne's clash against Manly on Saturday, adding he believed Wednesday's Origin encounter would have taken as much out of the fullback emotionally as it did physically.
"I'd imagine that was emotionally draining for him, to play his last game up there and to get the result that they got," Bellamy said.
"It was a big occasion for him. In Melbourne we probably didn't see a whole heap of the emotion at the end of the game, but I think probably the last hour or two after the game would have been fairly tiring for him."