Wayne Bennett hits back at critics before England's showdown with Australia

Wayne Bennett hits back at critics before England's showdown with Australia

Javier Howell
November 11, 2016

The Daily Star newspaper backed Bennett's right not to give extensive interviews as England coach amid criticism he is doing nothing to promote the game in the UK.

Wayne Bennett will be "sleeping with the enemy" when he plots Australia's as coach of England; he will never admit it publicly, the seven-time NRL premiership-winning coach will rarely have wanted a win more than this weekend.

When asked how many changes he was thinking of making, the coach added: "Last Saturday night, everybody; today I'm a bit more rational, so not too many".

"You go talk to any marketing department and they don't want you to be goofing off and talking it up and your team's getting beaten every week". "I just want to get back to the way we played against New Zealand, so there's a lot of improvements for us".

But Bennett says he's had flak for 40 years and couldn't care less, saying: "I am what I am".

"When that's in place, what you say away from the game is really immaterial".

"That has been my philosophy all my coaching life and I am not interested in cheap talk".

England coach Wayne Bennett says it's his job to get the best from his players, not to promote the game in the media.

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"I know if the team ... play well and everyone enjoys what they're doing, there won't be any shortage of fans or people interested".

Bennett said he did not even follow the news. I'm immune to anything you say out there, it just doesn't impress me. I watch television shows but when some rugby league comes on I turn it off.

Australia and England take up positions in the latest chapter of their sporting rivalry this weekend - this time in rugby league's Four Nations tournament - but the fixture at the Olympic Stadium in London features a twist that will see one Australian chasing the sweetest victory of his career.

"Talk is cheap. I see lots of guys doing interviews and they're just wasting your time and space".

"Sometimes when you do that, you can look a long way off but it's the small things that make a big difference in these games". "I can't play the game unfortunately". I feel I was maybe a bit too enthusiastic at the start, trying to get involved in too many tackles and leaving my tank a bit empty at the end of my stint and not offering as much as I'd like to. I didn't do that (undermine Meninga) but if he believes that...

"It's a matter of perception". I don't compromise myself.

He said that James Graham, who has a knee injury, would play and that he would issue no instructions about chasing points, with Saturday's (NZT) Scotland-New Zealand game to determine the necessary margin to qualify for the final at Anfield.

Thaiday reckons Bennett can inspire England's players as long as they can stay awake - and Bennett agreed.