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Ex-referees boss Bernard Sutton joins Melbourne Storm as a consultant

The rich just keep getting richer with premiers Melbourne pulling off a wily move to keep the NRL juggernauts one step ahead of the competition for 2021.

Fresh off their grand final victory over Penrith In October, Craig Bellamy has wasted little time mounting a title defence addressing on-field discipline issues by appointing former NRL referees boss Bernard Sutton as a consultant for 2021.

After making his debut as an NRL referee in 2007, Sutton stepped down as the code’s general manager of elite officiating at the end of last year and will aim to help the team limit penalties and adapt to rule changes, according to Storm football manager Frank Ponissi.

“It will be a positive for our club to tap into Bernard’s expertise and experience to have him available to help us continue to improve our on-field discipline,” Ponissi said.

“We are always looking at those one-percenters and what we can do to make ourselves better.

“Reducing the number of penalties we concede is one area we have targeted for improvement as is adapting to the new laws to be introduced in 2021.

“Bernard will working directly with our coaches in a role that’s very similar that we had another ex-NRL referee Adam Devcich fill with us in 2019.

“He won’t be at training but he’ll be available remotely for Craig and our assistant coaches to use for guidance and advice as the season progresses.”

Despite taking the 2020 crown, Storm coach Craig Bellamy has identified discipline as a major weakness for his side.

The Storm gave away 5.5 penalties/ruck infringements per game last season, which ranked 12th among the 16 teams in the NRL. The Storm were equal sixth for ruck infringements.

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