Crackdown won't ruin NRL, Origin: Bennett

·2-min read

Wayne Bennett has one simple message for NRL clubs: get on board with the crackdown or give up on this year's premiership.

Bennett remains one of the staunchest supporters of the league's crackdown on high shots, insistent from the beginning it was a move the game had to make.

The South Sydney coach is also bewildered by rivals criticising the edict, questioning if they are merely trying to create a distraction from their own woes.

But there is one thing he is certain of: the best teams will get it right.

Bennett rightfully pointed out on Friday both the Rabbitohs and Melbourne are yet to have a player sin-binned or suspended for high shots or dangerous contact during the league's crackdown.

Unbeaten Penrith account for just one of the 31 sin-bins and none of the three send-offs handed down in the past two rounds, while Kurt Capewell is the only Panther to be banned for a crusher tackle.

In-form Manly are also yet to have a player binned for dangerous contact, while of the genuine title contenders the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta are the outliers with bans.

"It has a huge impact on you (come finals)," Bennett said.

"When the top teams are playing each other they cannot afford to have 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

"But they are showing that now that they've got it already.

"You saw Melbourne play the Broncos last night and it wasn't a drama.

"You look at the top teams, Penrith we played them last week and there wasn't a drama in that game. Melbourne in Canberra, no dramas."

Bennett also won't cop the argument the crackdown could ruin Origin.

Victor Radley and Angus Crichton are among those already ruled out of the opener through suspension, while Queensland second-rower Felise Kaufusi now looks set to join them after repeated offences.

"It's a non-issue," Bennett said.

"I don't get why we're all thinking Origin isn't going to be a great game because we can't hit someone in the head.

"There was a rule in 1908 when they started the game you couldn't hit them in the head or the neck.

"They were hysterical when we took the shoulder charge and punching out of the game. But the game has a huge responsibility and duty of care to its players."

And Bennett claimed again the best players would get their techniques right with so much on the line.

"If you go to Origin and you're an Origin coach, you want your team to behave the best," Bennett said.

"If you have a player gets 10 minutes in Origin you can just about kiss that game goodbye."