Cameron Smith was given his marching orders for only the second time in his long career. (AAP: Scott Barbour)
Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith has denied trying to slap Reed Mahoney in the face, as he prepares to learn his fate over his skirmish with the Parramatta hooker.
- With the Eels’ Reed Mahoney hanging on to his jumper, Cameron Smith struck out several times before landing a blow on his opponent’s head
- Smith says his striking of Mahoney was not intentional, but is happy with the consistent ruling
- It came as the Storm eased to a 32-0 NRL semi-final win over Parramatta
The NRL match review committee will scrutinise the incident in the first half of the Storm’s 32-0 semi-final win which saw Smith sin binned for just the second time in his career.
After Mahoney held on to Smith’s jumper, the Storm veteran struck out several times before landing a blow on the young Eels number nine’s head.
Smith said he had no issue with being marched off for 10 minutes but insisted he had no malicious intent.
“Absolutely not,” Smith said when asked if he was trying to strike his fellow Queenslander.
“Reed had a really good hold of me after I kicked the ball and he wouldn’t let go.
“I missed the mark and clipped him high. It wasn’t intentional. But the ruling was that I got him.
“It’s a consistent ruling with what happened last night so I’m happy with that.”
Smith appears unlikely to be rubbed out given South Sydney’s Cody Walker escaped with a fine for a similar slap on Manly’s Jack Gosiewski on Friday night.
Walker was charged with contrary conduct and if Smith is hit with the same charge he will be free to play.
Reed Mahoney (bottom) said he was trying to inspire his side by niggling Cameron Smith. (AAP: Hamish Blair)
The only chance of him missing next Saturday’s preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters is if he is charged with striking.
Mahoney said he did not even realise Smith struck him.
“I didn’t really feel it, I just got up and it was a penalty,” Mahoney said.
“We had a good laugh at the end.”
Mahoney, who grew up on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, said he idolised Smith growing up and was trying to inspire his side by niggling the Storm legend.
“I just held on to him a bit longer and he didn’t like it,” Mahoney said.
“We’re all good, we had a laugh at the end of it — that’s footy.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Cam Smith, he’s done everything in the game.”
Parramatta pair Kane Evans and Maika Sivo will also come under scrutiny for shoulder charges in the same game.