Mark Geyer's staggering claim amid Cameron Munster-Wayne Bennett furore

Pictured left to right is NRL coach Wayne Bennett and Melbourne Storm player Cameron Munster.
Wayne Bennett's Dolphins were dealt a big blow when Cameron Munster opted to stay at Melbourne instead of signing with the NRL's newest club. Pic: Getty

Rugby League great Mark Geyer has called on the NRL to provide more support to the Dolphins after insisting the club's coach, Wayne Bennett, has every right to be "pissed off" about the difficulties in signing players.

Bennett last week accused Cameron Munster of "dodging" his calls after the star five-eighth opted to re-sign with the Melbourne Storm, instead of joining the NRL's newest team.

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Munster turned down a four-year deal worth $5.5 million to join the Dolphins, in favour of staying in Melbourne for considerably less money - with his $4 million Storm deal also over four years.

Missing out on signing Munster is the latest blow for Bennett and the Dolphins, who have also seen high-profile targets Brandon Smith, Kalyn Ponga and Reece Walsh commit elsewhere.

Geyer says he feels for Bennett and believes the NRL should be doing more to give the master coach a chance of assembling a more competitive outfit for the next few seasons.

The Penrith premiership legend says the Munster situation is the perfect example of what Bennett is up against, and that the Dolphins should be given special dispensation to negotiate with off-contract players before November 1.

“I must confess I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t see that he would stay with Melbourne,” Geyer told Triple M.

“I’m glad he did, I’m really glad because money doesn’t buy us happiness always and I think Cameron Munster weighed up the options.

“'Will I take the extra $300,000 a year and go to a club that’s basically going to be bottom feeders for the first three or four years and then most of the blame will go on me, or stay at an established club, be a one club man, see out my time in the purple jersey.'

“Look I feel for Wayne Bennett. I think that the NRL have to do more for the Dolphins for dispensations.

Geyer says one radical solution would be to give the Dolphins the opportunity to sign one huge marquee player such as Munster, whose contract does not initially count towards the salary cap.

“I think they’ve got to have a marquee exempt from salary cap or something for the first three years," he added.

The league icon says making matters worse for the Dolphins is his belief that player agents are using the club as leverage to negotiate better deals for their clients.

Seen here, Cameron Munster gets ready to pass the ball during an NRL game for the Melbourne Storm.
Cameron Munster opted to stay at the Melbourne Storm for less money than take up a big-money deal with the Dolphins as their marquee player. Pic: Getty

NRL urged to do more to help Dolphins sign players

“They’ve got to do something to help them out because what’s happening with the Dolphins every player manager has said that their client is going to the Dolphins,” Geyer said.

“Then they get leverage from that from their own club so they stay at their own clubs for more money.

"If you can’t see what’s happening you’re Stevie Wonder.

“It’s happening right before our eyes and Wayne Bennett’s pissed off about it.”

Bennett admitted the club had been up against it trying to build a competitive roster for their debut NRL season in 2023.

The 72-year-old coach urged the league to take a leaf out of the AFL's book and have other clubs give up certain players to help new clubs establish a footing in the league.

When the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants joined the AFL, both teams had access to an exclusive pre-season draft focused on junior stars.

"The 17th team is an inconvenience because they're going to lose a few more players," Bennett said.

"What the game has never done is support a new team coming in, in terms of recruitment.

"The game should, as the AFL did with GWS and the Gold Coast, each club had to give up one or two players from their roster to make it more viable."

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