Bennett to stay with Knights: video

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoKNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett is getting on with plans for next season after confirming he will remain in charge of Newcastle’s NRL club for the last two years of his four-year contract.
Nanjing Night Net

Linked to the vacancy at the Cowboys, or a return to the Broncos, Bennett has blamed the media for ongoing speculation about his future and said he was ‘‘never leaving the Knights’’.

In an article yesterday in News Limited’s Daily Telegraph, the Knights’ official newspaper, Bennett was quoted as saying: ‘‘I’m staying’’.

Asked at a media conference yesterday to repeat that statement, Bennett said: ‘‘Why do you want to hear it from me for?’’

‘‘It started with the media. You just keeping going on about it. You absolutely fascinate me.

‘‘I’ve said what I’ve said today, and I don’t really want to keep going on about it until you raise its head again somewhere in six months’ time when some other club hasn’t got a coach.’’

Bennett said he reaffirmed his commitment to the Knights last December when the Australian Taxation Office, seeking more than $3million in unpaid tax, moved to liquidate eight companies linked to Knights owner Nathan Tinkler, including the Knights, the Jets, and their parent company, the Hunter Sports Group.

Asked yesterday why he decided to stay in Newcastle, Bennett said: ‘‘Well I was never leaving the Knights. It comes back to you people. It starts with you people.

‘‘It’s fascinated me the rubbish that went on about it. Here I am justifying why I’m staying here. I’m here. Do you understand that? Don’t you ever read your own articles or read what’s said?

‘‘This time last year, about December last year, I came out publicly and said even then, when there were some issues or other things around the club with regards to Nathan, I made the point then. It looks like I’ve got to do it every couple of months here. It’s a funny place.’’

Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain contributed to the intrigue about Bennett’s future in the Sunday Telegraph when he said the Townsville-based club would be interested in pursuing Bennett if he was available.

Jourdain said the Cowboys had delayed announcing a replacement for coach Neil Henry, who has signed as an assistant to Titans coach John Cartwright, until after the NRL grand final ‘‘because the person or persons in the shortlist could well be involved in the grand final’’.

The Roosters eliminated the Knights from the title race with a 40-14 victory at Allianz Stadium last Saturday and will play Manly in the decider at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

‘‘It probably wouldn’t be fair to either team to have it announced before that,’’ Jourdain said.

‘‘We’re going to have to go through contract negotiations, so if they’re involved in the grand final it’s not going to happen that same week.’’

Bennett said he was unaware of those comments.

‘‘I haven’t read what he’s said, or anybody else. I never applied for a job up there, I never went for an interview for a job up there,’’ he said.

Bennett could have ended speculation about his future when asked at a media conference last Wednesday if he would be coaching the Knights for the next two years.

Wayne Bennett

Instead of saying, ‘‘yes’’, he said: ‘‘Look, I can’t give you an ironclad guarantee about anything in this game, so right now, I’m the coach here, and when that changes, I’ll let you know.’’

Bennett said he and his staff had mapped out pre-season training plans, including staggered starts to allow players involved in the World Cup to enjoy the same break as their teammates.

‘‘We anticipate up to eight of our players will be in that. That will be a huge distraction to the NRL, because there’s probably over 100 players coming out of this competition to go away for that, so we’ll all have the same battle next year about when players start and how much football they play.’’

Newcastle have signed Penrith and former Knights forward Clint Newton, former Canberra and Hull KR playmaker Michael Dobson, and hooker Travis Waddell, but Bennett is considering other additions to his 2014 roster.

It is understood Sea Eagles assistant coach Brad Arthur is the favourite for the Cowboys job as Roosters assistant coach Paul Green, another candidate, was reportedly told by the Cowboys late last week that he had missed out on the position.

EARLIER:

KNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett has indicated he will remain in charge of Newcastle’s NRL club for the final two years of his four-year contract.

Bennett has been linked to the vacancy at the North Queensland Cowboys, or a return to the Brisbane Broncos, but at a media conference on Monday he blamed the media for ongoing speculation about his future and said he was ‘‘never leaving the Knights’’.

In an article on Monday in News Limited’s Daily Telegraph, the Knights’ official newspaper, Bennett was quoted as saying: ‘‘I’m staying’’.

Asked by a reporter at the media conference on Monday to repeat that statement, Bennett said: ‘‘Why do you want to hear it from me for?’’

‘‘It started with the media. You just keeping going on about it. You absolutely fascinate me.

‘‘I’ve said what I’ve said today, and I don’t really want to keep going on about it until you raise its head again somewhere in six months time when some other club hasn’t got a coach.’’

Bennett said he reaffirmed his commitment to the Knights almost a year ago when the Australian Taxation Office, seeking more than $3 million in unpaid tax, moved to liquidate eight companies linked to Knights owner Nathan Tinkler, including the Knights, the Newcastle Jets A-League soccer club and their parent company, the Hunter Sports Group.

Asked on Monday why he had decided to stay at the Knights, Bennett said: ‘‘Well I was never leaving the Knights. It comes back to you people. It starts with you people.

‘‘It’s fascinated me the rubbish that went on about it. Here I am justifying why I’m staying here. I’m here. Do you understand that? … Don’t you ever read your own articles or read what’s said?

‘‘This time last year, about December last year, I came out publicly and said even then, when there were some issues or other things around the club with regards to Nathan, I made the point then. It looks like I’ve got to do it every couple of months here. It’s a funny place.’’

Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain fuelled speculation about Bennett’s future in News Limited’s Sunday Telegraph on Sunday when he was quoted as saying the Townsville-based club would be interested in pursuing Bennett if he was available.

Speaking before the Roosters had eliminated the Knights from the title race with a 40-14 victory at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, Jourdain said the Cowboys had delayed any announcement on a replacement for coach Neil Henry until after the NRL grand final ‘‘because the person or persons in the short-list could well be involved in the grand final’’.

‘‘It probably wouldn’t be fair to either team to have it announced before that,’’ Jourdain said.

‘‘We’re going to have to go through contract negotiations, so if they’re involved in the grand final it’s not going to happen that same week.’’

Bennett said he was unaware of Jourdain’s comments.

‘‘I haven’t read what he’s said, or anybody else. I never applied for a job up there, I never went for an interview for a job up there,’’ Bennett said.

‘‘As I said, it started somewhere else and had nothing to do with me.’’

It is understood Manly assistant coach Brad Arthur is the favourite for the Cowboys job as Roosters assistant coach Paul Green, another candidate, has reportedly been told by the Cowboys that he has missed out on the position.

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