Wayne Bennett's blunt response after complaint from Melbourne Storm

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Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, pictured here in the NRL.
Wayne Bennett has hit back after the Melbourne Storm complained about his attempts to recruit Cameron Munster. Image: Getty

Wayne Bennett has taken a swipe at the Melbourne Storm after the club reportedly lodged a complaint with the NRL over his attempts to recruit Cameron Munster to the Dolphins.

The new Queensland club is still without a marquee signing for its inaugural season in 2023, and Bennett is desperate to lure Munster away from Melbourne.

The five-eighth remains under contract at the Storm until the end of the 2023 season, and coach Craig Bellamy is adamant there won't be no early release.

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Current NRL rules allow Bennett to meet with Munster, but the super-coach can't table a contract offer the 2024 season until November this year.

Storm officials reportedly lodged a complaint with the NRL last week that Bennett had broken the strict rules.

“The Storm are outraged, lodging a formal complaint after Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins completely disregarded rules and attempted to poach one of their own players who is under contract – which is Cameron Munster," Michelle Bishop reported on SEN radio.

“Bennett wants Cameron Munster, talk of them wanting Cameron Munster started after the Dolphins missed out on Kalyn Ponga.

“But the fact is, Munster is under contract next season and Bennett has blown it off as a non-issue.

“Melbourne even went direct to the Dolphins to put it in writing to them. They actually wrote, ‘Cameron Munster is not available for 2023… zero chance’.”

Addressing the furore on Tuesday, Bennett was typically blunt in taking a sly dig at the Storm.

"(Munster is) still in the process of talking to Melbourne, finding out what his future is there, and talking to us in between," Bennett said.

"The NRL haven't told us we are (breaking the rules), they are the governing body, so we'll continue doing what we're doing.

"One thing about Cam is he's the guy laughing, because he has plenty of offers, plenty of opportunity."

Cameron Munster, pictured here in action for the Melbourne Storm against Newcastle.
Cameron Munster in action for the Melbourne Storm against Newcastle. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett still searching for marquee signing

The Dolphins signed 19-year-old St George Illawarra junior Jack Bostock to a development contract on Tuesday, with the centre set to move into the squad's top 30 in 2024.

The club has also signed Felise Kaufusi, Mark Nicholls, Ray Stone, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Tom Gilbert.

However they have missed out on high-profile stars Kalyn Ponga, Reed Mahoney, Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes.

Grant and Hughes have re-signed with the Storm and the club are looking to lock up Munster as well.

Wayne Bennett, pictured here posing for a photo with the Dolphins Heritage Round jersey.
Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the Dolphins Heritage Round jersey. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

"There's criticism we haven't signed anybody, criticism about dad's army and there will be criticism about something else in the future," Bennett mused.

"My position on all that stuff is that if you start listening to the fans you'll be sitting with them.

"We know what we're doing, we're confident in it and no-one's going to distract me personally from doing what I think is the best thing in the club.

"There's a lot of things sitting in the cupboard back home we haven't released yet.

"No-one's telling any lies here ... it's not in our best interests to come out and make statements (today) until we've got some things secured away."

with AAP

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