‘Didn’t want them’: Bennett’s Broncos swipe as new Dolphins coach drops target hints

Wayne Bennett dropped some major hints on his potential player targets, while also throwing in a little jab at the Broncos after he was officially announced as head coach of the Dolphins.

After being strongly linked to the role for some time, the Dolphins unveiled Bennett at a press conference on Thursday.
“I feel very privileged actually,” Bennett said.




A post shared by Fox League (@foxleague)


“At the start of the season I had no idea this would happen. Its been quite a journey. I’m pleased to be back in Brisbane, I’m pleased to be here.

“It wasn’t (about) dollars. (It was about) philosophy and I wanted to make sure I was on the same page and vice versa.

“We have to be compatible because I can’t make it work by myself. I need all the support that sits here today so we’re on the same page.”

Although the Dolphins won’t join the competition until 2023, Bennett now faces the huge task of building his ideal roster for their inaugural NRL season.

The likes of Cameron Munster, Kalyn Ponga and Reed Mahoney have all been linked to the 17th team.

Bennett joked that his ideal target is “anyone that plays rugby league” before giving some hints on what specifically he’s looking for.

“Yeah you’ve got a $9.5 million salary cap and you know you have to get some marquee players and that will be our priority, then build the other players around them,” he said.

“Obviously I want to bring the good players here but there’s more than just me that will bring them here and that’s the concept that I’ll be buying into and that I want everyone else to buy into.

“This is a wonderful club, great area and it’s not about one person.”

There were reports suggesting Bennett’s former club, the Rabbitohs, had put a clause in his contract that would prevent him from poaching any of their players — like star five-eighth Cody Walker — or staff.

Bennett said he didn’t even know about the clause but it means nothing to him because he’s never been one to poach players, while also taking aim at the Broncos’ roster management.

“I don’t care about the clause, the clause doesn’t interest me,” he said.

“Go and have a look at the clubs I’ve coached and go and have a look at how many players I’ve taken from the club I left.

“If you look at South Sydney for example, Jaydn Su’A and Pat Mago were both cast out by the Broncos, the Broncos didn’t want them.

“Darius Boyd followed me for a decade because the Broncos didn’t want him. I have no history of taking major players from any club.”

Bennett is hopeful that the fact the Dolphins are a foundation club will help his recruitment drive.

“Yeah of course it is (helpful) and it will help us attract players because it will be that once-off opportunity to do that,” he said.

“But more importantly there’s a great facility here and a great reputation about this club so it all helps not starting from scratch, we’re way in front in that part.”

Pressed on whether culture or talent was most important to him, Bennett said: “Culture every time.”

“The talent will come and we’ll grow the talent and find the talent, but it’s who we are and what we are that’s the important thing within clubs,” he added.

But some of the stars he coached during last year’s State of Origin series could be in the mix too.

“Yeah well (the 2020 Origin experience) won’t hurt me with relationships. They were great young men and I enjoyed being with them,” he said.

“There’s a whole stack of other guys there too. We’ve got to look at who our priorities are and how we’re going to do that.

“One thing we all know is we can’t have everyone.”

The mastercoach will also be keeping a close eye on homegrown talent.

“I want guys who have got the love for the place and they want to be part of and there’s nothing greater for them than playing in front of their parents and friends and done that since they were six years old,” he said.

“There have been some wonderful players from here. I remember Brent Tate at the Broncos, I think he started here when he was six and a kid in the future in Brent Tate’s category won’t have to go anywhere else now and can stay here.

“That’s the thing I want to be really strong on, to make sure our talent doesn’t leave us.”

The Dolphins are yet to reveal the rest of their coaching staff, however Bennett revealed a succession plan is on the cards.

“No I haven’t (decided on a coaching staff),” he said.

“It’s important decision. We’re sitting back at the moment, we’ve got 12 months grace there but our plan is to get someone to take my place when my time is up as we’ve just done at South Sydney, it works and in the best interest of everyone we move in that direction.

“That's been part of the negotiations.”

One thing Bennett is sure of though is that although he’s back in Brisbane, the book on his time with the Broncos is well and truly closed.

“I don’t believe we’ve been set up to be rivals to the broncos,” he said.

“I’ll make a point to everyone today, my time at the broncos is over. I’m here at Redcliffe, at the Dolphins and I want them to be the best club.

“I won’t be looking over my shoulder at any other club in the NRL.

“My total faith is in what we can do here and enhance what they’ve already built here.”


Story first linked to Foxsports Australia

Link to original story

Darcie McDonald from Fox Sports