MELBOURNE was last night accused of "outrageous and shameful behaviour" Article from: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegrap...001023,00.html By Dean Ritchie September 18, 2007 12:00am MELBOURNE was last night accused of "outrageous and shameful behaviour" after secretly attempting to replicate Olympic Park's smaller field dimensions to this weekend's venue, Telstra Dome. The NRL was last night forced to step in and order Telstra Dome management to mark out a full size field for Sunday's grand final qualifier against Parramatta. Olympic Park is 6m narrower than all other NRL fields and 2m shorter in its in-goal areas. On the reduced field, Melbourne has won 30 of their past 31 games. Melbourne this week sent Telstra Dome officials measurements for field markings on the AFL venue, but asked for the same sized dimensions as Olympic Park - infuriating Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald. "It's disgraceful, shameful and outrageous behaviour - they have tried to hoodwink the NRL," Fitzgerald said. "We've played on Olympic Park all year and we anticipated we would play on the same size field at Telstra Dome. It is the same for both teams," Storm CEO Brian Waldron said. But a fuming Fitzgerald labelled the move selfish. "As for Parramatta, it's lucky we put pressure on the NRL to check the field measurements," he said. "Melbourne's attempt to secure an unfair advantage is just selfish. "The NRL has assured us they will have representatives on the ground when the markings are done this Saturday to ensure everything is 100 per cent. "They have played 13 games on their mini field this year and then they have the hide to try and get the grand final qualifier on a smaller ground. "It really is an outrage but I'm not surprised given what has gone on down there in their turbulent 10-year history. "I have strongly voiced my disapproval over the past decade about the Storm being allowed to use their mini field when all other clubs have home grounds that meet the correct field dimensions." Waldron said he was happy for the NRL to mark out Telstra Dome to the same measurements Sydney sides use. "If the NRL determine that they want the ground measurements changed, we won't have a problem. "Our players are used to playing on a shortened field but as I said, if the NRL want it altered that's okay with us." Told about Waldron's comments, Fitzgerald said: "Brian is an AFL blow-in. He has only measured AFL fields which are oval-shaped." Eels coach Michael Hagan admitted Melbourne would have gained an unfair advantage playing on a smaller field. "Of course they would have," Hagan said. "Their defensive structure, their line speed and their kicking game are their strengths on the smaller ground. "We would be expecting to play Melbourne on a full-size field." NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said his organisation would ensure all ground measurements meet the the game's strict standards. "Regardless of the view anyone at Melbourne may have about this, all matches in final series are NRL controlled events," Annesley said. "The Olympic Park dimensions are reduced because of the restriction of the running track but no such restrictions apply at Telstra Dome. We will be playing on a full-size pitch. "Should Melbourne win and progress to the grand final, they will be playing on exactly the same size pitch at Telstra Stadium." The outspoken Fitzgerald, the game's longest serving CEO, has been a long-time critic of Melbourne, often questioning whether the Victorian club should be retained in the NRL competition.