'Just had lunch': Wayne Bennett stood down over NRL virus breach

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Wayne Bennett, pictured here before a South Sydney game in the NRL.
Wayne Bennett looks on before the round 10 NRL match between South Sydney and Newcastle. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett will be forced to quarantine for two weeks after breaching the NRL’s strict biosecurity bubble by eating out in Sydney's inner-west on Wednesday.

On Thursday The Daily Telegraph first reported the South Sydney coach visited an Italian restaurant in Leichhardt with his partner.

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Under the NRL's biosecurity rules, players and selected club officials cannot have visitors or go to pubs, cafes or restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bennett fronted the media via a teleconference on Thursday morning, admitting he attended the restaurant.

He said he thought it was okay because it was just him and his partner, whom he lives with.

“I don’t know. If it was a breach I wouldn’t have done it. I went with my partner who I live with,” he said.

“I go shopping, I go out to get meals. There wasn’t many there at all. I was isolated, away from everybody, just had lunch.”

The 70-year-old said he was finding it hard to keep up with the league’s rules.

“Protocols are changing all the time, at times I have been out when I thought it was right,” he said.

“We’re totally confused about what we can and can’t do.

“A couple of weeks ago I think there was a conversation we had here just when there were a few more cases coming up in the state

“I’m confident I do know the rules. As I said I just went to lunch yesterday, just the two of us, am I not allowed to eat?

“Being candid with you all here, we’re in a bubble but I’m sure we haven’t been perfect with it.. we all comply but to think we’ve all been perfect with it, that wouldn’t been the fact.

​​”I go to the kebab shop and get a kebab... I think we’re getting a little small-minded here.”

Peter V'landys, pictured here speaks to the media at NRL headquarters.
ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys speaks to the media in Sydney. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Latest scandal for Wayne Bennett

It is the second offence this season for the veteran coach if guilty, after the Rabbitohs were fined for not disclosing details of Cody Walker's dramas earlier this year.

The Queensland Government has only agreed to have teams travel into and out of the state from NSW based on the NRL's strict biosecurity guidelines.

The scandal comes after Bennett exploded over claims he sabotaged the Broncos before his controversial switch to the Rabbitohs.

In an interview with the Courier Mail's Peter Badel, the 70-year-old coach strongly denied any suggestion that he went behind Anthony Seibold's back while still coaching Brisbane.

“It is absolute bull**** that I was planning stuff with Souths while Seibold was there,” Bennett said.

“It’s like many things in life, people only want to muddy the waters when the truth is not told. That is the case of my so-called planning with Souths when Seibold was there.

“I didn’t agree to go to South Sydney until the Broncos sacked me. I never once agitated to get out.

“I wanted to fulfil my contract with the Broncos. I was approached by the Wests Tigers, but I couldn’t take the job. I gave my word to the Broncos staff and players I would not abandon them for 2019.”

with AAP