Melbourne Storm boss Frank Ponissi fires back at culture critics
Despite two Melbourne Storm stars falling under an NRL Integrity Unit investigation over recent footage, the club’s football boss, Frank Ponissi, has slammed critics of the club’s culture and declared “your culture doesn’t change in one incident”.
Late on Monday night, videos emerged of Brandon Smith and Cameron Munster partying with a white substance and were widely circulated around social media.
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As criticism swirled around the Storm regarding the incident, many questioned whether the club’s notoriously high standards had begun to slip.
However, Ponissi swatted away those claims and believes the footage isn’t a sign of things to come in regards to the club’s culture.
“It’s only a couple of days [since] we’ve been lauded about our culture,” Ponissi told SEN.
“So, suddenly your culture doesn’t change in one incident.
“Look, any time there is an incident in the club, it’s a problem.
“But it certainly is not widespread, and again it’s probably how you react.
“Any cultures at all will face moments of adversity and challenging times.
“But it’s how the people in the club react, that’s always a test of our culture.
“And we’ll certainly be reacting in the most positive way possible.”
The incident capped off a nightmare weekend for the Storm, as they lost 10-6 to the Penrith Panthers in their preliminary final clash to prevent the Victorian side from winning back-to-back premierships.
Three Storm players – Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis – were implicated as part of the videos, and the club confirmed they had been interviewed by the NRL Integrity Unit.
In a statement released by the club on Tuesday night, Storm CEO Justin Rodski expressed his disappointment over the incident and also made “no apologies for protecting and upholding the professionalism and values of our organisation”.
“The club is taking this matter extremely seriously. We are very disappointed to be in this position and will be thorough in our response,” Rodski said.
“The players involved have fully co-operated with the NRL and the NRL Integrity Unit investigation. It is our understanding this investigation is unlikely to be concluded this week.
“Melbourne Storm unashamedly sets high standards and makes no apologies for protecting and upholding the professionalism and values of our organisation.
“The club is conducting its own investigation into the matter and will provide an update on our findings in conjunction with the NRL when both processes have concluded.
“The club will make no further comment on the matter until the NRL Integrity Unit has concluded its investigations.”
Originally published as Melbourne Storm boss Frank Ponissi fires back at culture critics
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