Craig Bellamy implored the NRL to explore playing the opening month's fixtures exclusively at night after world champions Melbourne and the vanquished St George Illawarra couldn't agree on a drinks break in sweltering conditions yesterday.
The Storm prolonged the Dragons' Melbourne misery, running the total to 14 years and 12 games since the Red V last won in the southern capital, but the furnace-like temperature drew Bellamy's ire.
The thermometer touched 34 degrees during the Storm's five tries-to-two rout, but the two clubs failed to agree to have a drinks break mid-way through each half.
Under NRL rules, both club doctors need to agree on the stoppage, and if they can't the home team's medical officer can seek out the NRL's chief medical officer for a ruling.
The Storm consulted NRL chief medical officer Ron Muratore yesterday, but he ruled in favour of the Dragons, who presumably thought the extreme conditions would take its toll more on the Storm.
"It's all right sitting up in the stands and making that decision, but you get out there and play and you would be looking for a drink after every 10 minutes," Bellamy fumed after his side had won the World Club Challenge in sub-zero temperatures a fortnight earlier.
"I don't know what the idea is there. I don't know whether it's something the NRL may be able to look into, but for the first month of the competition play just night games.
"We could play one on Thursday night, a couple on Friday night and a couple on Saturday night. Another couple on Sunday night and perhaps on the Monday night. Every year there seems to be someone playing in extreme temperatures."
The preceding Holden Cup clash featured drinks breaks yesterday, but the NRL players weren't afforded the same luxury.
How much of a lasting effect the conditions will have on both the Storm and Dragons will be measured during the upcoming weekend, with Steve Price's Red V on a five-day turnaround.
They play the Broncos in Wollongong on Friday night, while Melbourne will visit steamy Townsville to take on the Cowboys the following day.
"I know we wanted to have it [drinks break] and St George didn't want to have it," Bellamy said. "That will really affect our preparation for next week. That's going to affect St George's preparation. I don't know how hot it was at Penrith [yesterday], but it's affecting some teams and others are playing at night."
Storm skipper Cameron Smith was hauled off by Bellamy in the dying moments yesterday and described the conditions as the toughest he's played in for years.
"There was a light breeze out there [in the second half] and it felt like it cooled down, but the cloud cover came over and it was like playing in a sauna really," he said. "I was buggered out there, I'll be honest."
Dragons captain Ben Creagh empathised with his Storm counterpart having also faced the problem of a helter-skelter start to the NRL season on the back of a chilly visit to the Old Dart.
"You play in England in probably eight or six degrees and I think we played on the Gold Coast in our first round in 2011 so it was tough," he said. "It would have been tough for them too. That heat in the first half, that was really warm."
Said prop Dan Hunt: "When they scored that first try I was just standing under the posts and it was about 100 degrees. I wouldn't have minded [a drinks break], but it was not the heat that cost us. Once you get into the grind and the arm wrestle, both sides are tired. It's just a matter of who works harder."