Cameron Smith accuses referees of trying to make an 'exciting finish' to the ...

Storm captain Cameron Smith could be slapped with an expensive parting gift for accusing referees of trying to create a 'more exciting' finish.

Melbourne stormed to victory in the NRL Grand Final despite a ferocious late comeback by the Penrith Panthers that kept the match alive into the final seconds.

Storm held onto a six point lead despite playing with just 11 men for the final minutes after halfback Jahrome Hughes and utility Brandon Smith were sent to the sin bin.

Smith, who despite his incredible talent is a polarising figure in rugby league because of his gamesmanship that many consider goes too far, was not at all pleased with this.

Storm captain Cameron Smith could be slapped with an expensive parting gift for accusing referees of trying to create a 'more exciting' finish

Storm captain Cameron Smith could be slapped with an expensive parting gift for accusing referees of trying to create a 'more exciting' finish 

Smith approached referee Gerard Sutton during the video referral after Hughes was sent off, accused him of trying to keep the game exciting

Smith approached referee Gerard Sutton during the video referral after Hughes was sent off, accused him of trying to keep the game exciting

So he approached referee Gerard Sutton during the video referral after Hughes was sent off, despite being told to wait until after the decision.

'The last three or four penalties they have got is little very picky stuff and we have got nothing mate,' Smith was heard to say to Sutton.  

'I get it, everyone wants an exciting finish. But we are just the same as them. Stop trying to pick little things out of our game to make an exciting finish.'

Smith's outburst could cost him $20,000, which was how much Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was slugged with in August for making a similar implication.

"It felt like they (Canberra) were being managed back into the game. That's all I can say. Some really strange calls,' he said in a post-match pres conference.

Smith likely played his last game in Sunday night's Grand Final, but is still subject to league sanctions. 

After the romping win, he dedicated the victory to the people of Melbourne struggling through lockdown. 

'This big V on my jersey, on our jersey, this is who we're playing for. Everyone back home in Victoria. This one's for you, you !' Smith said after the match.

'This 2020 season, it's one like no other and what we've been able to achieve tonight, it's - we'll never forget it. 

Melbourne has stormed to victory in the NRL Grand Final despite a ferocious late comeback by the Penrith Panthers

Melbourne has stormed to victory in the NRL Grand Final despite a ferocious late comeback by the Penrith Panthers

Storm held onto a six point lead despite playing with just 11 men for the final minutes

Storm held onto a six point lead despite playing with just 11 men for the final minutes

'We'll remember it for the rest of our lives and a big congratulations to everyone, particularly the boys that are celebrating their first premiership. 

'Hold on to that forever, boys.'  

Penrith fought hard to catch up, scoring twice in the last few minutes, but were not quite able to overcome a massive 26-6 deficit.

The match came down to the final seconds where the Panthers needed to go the length of the field in one play to pull of the greatest victory ever.

But it was not to be as the desperate attempt saw a dozen passes to avoid Melbourne defenders, but fell short and finished 22-26. 

Cameron Smith (pictured right with Josh Addo-Carr) dedicated the championship to the people of Victoria who suffered through months of punishing coronavirus lockdown

Cameron Smith (pictured right with Josh Addo-Carr) dedicated the championship to the people of Victoria who suffered through months of punishing coronavirus lockdown

Justin Olam and Josh Addo-Carr of the Storm celebrate after winning the 2020 NRL Grand Final

Justin Olam and Josh Addo-Carr of the Storm celebrate after winning the 2020 NRL Grand Final

In contrast to Smith's heroics, halfback Nathan Cleary passed up an opportunity to kick a conversion after scoring a try in the 39th minute, instead trying to rally his team for the final seconds of the match. 

After the game, he told New South Wales State of Origin coach Brad Fittler he'd felt like he 'let down the boys'.

'It's super disappointing. I felt like I let the boys down but hopefully we'll be back,' he said.

'There were a few moments where we let in too many ordinary tries and Melbourne Storm are too good for that.'

The 37-year-old Smith faced mounting criticism over his refusal to discuss his potential retirement at the end of the 2020 season. 

But on Sunday night, he proved exactly why his coach and teammates have said he could continue playing for years to come, outclassing a young Panthers side.

The captain scored his first Grand Final try in the dying seconds of the first half, making him the highest point scorer in the history of NRL finals. 

Cameron Smith has starred in his side's brutal take-down of a beaten down Penrith Panthers side in the NRL's historic 2020 Grand Final

Cameron Smith has starred in his side's brutal take-down of a beaten down Penrith Panthers side in the NRL's historic 2020 Grand Final

The veteran Melbourne Storm hooker led his team to victory at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday night

The veteran Melbourne Storm hooker led his team to victory at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday night

The star hooker, who has not yet confirmed if he is playing his final match in his long and illustrious career, was an early standout for the team, kicking three conversions and two penalty goals in the first half alone. 

Earlier this week, he indicated he hadn't felt the signal that it was 'time to retire' like some of his former teammates had felt before hanging up their boots. 

Melbourne headed into the match as hot favourites, despite the Panthers team celebrating 17 straight victories and only one loss all season. 

The Storm produced the first error of the evening, knocking on seconds after the 7.30pm kickoff.

But within three and a half minutes, Storm centre Justin Olam had found the line. 

Penrith utility Tyrone May used his foot to kick the ball out of his hands resulting in a  penalty try to the favourites.

Nathan Cleary and his coach and father Ivan hugged after the devastating loss

Nathan Cleary and his coach and father Ivan hugged after the devastating loss

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers looks dejected after the 2020 NRL Grand Final match

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers looks dejected after the 2020 NRL Grand Final match

Panthers fans packed local pubs and bars to celebrate the Grand Final on Sunday afternoon

Panthers fans packed local pubs and bars to celebrate the Grand Final on Sunday afternoon

Minutes later, Penrith also looked certain to score but were turned away on the line when the Storm defence rallied and denied Josh Mansour. 

Smith has played 430 professional games in his career, winning the Dally M player of the year twice, hooker of the year nine times and representative player of the year four times.

He was adamant earlier this week that he wasn't waiting for a final win to announce his retirement.

'A lot of people have mentioned about whether we get a good result on Sunday and [how] that will determine things but I can confirm that it won't make a difference whether we win or lose,' Smith said.

'We want to win, there is no doubt about that, but that won't determine whether I play or not next year.

'It's

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