Wayne Bennett blasts 'selfish' Sydney rivals amid shock relocation call
The Dolphins coach has taken aim at the Sydney clubs after calls for a relocation.
Queensland Rugby League boss Bruce Hatcher has called for a Sydney club to relocate to Perth to expand the NRL only days after Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett labelled them 'selfish'. Bennett, before the Dolphins' first loss against Brisbane at Suncorp stadium, entered into a wild rant when it was put to him about why existing NRL clubs don't want expansion.
"Because they are selfish,” Bennett said. “If Sydney had their way, they wouldn’t be playing anywhere else but in Sydney.
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“They wouldn’t want Test matches or State of Origins. That’s why you have administrators outside of the clubs that have to make decisions in the best interests of what the game needs.
“But we get selfish in clubs and a bit personal. We all want to win the premiership, but we don’t want to play against anybody to win it.”
Bennett ignited the feud with his southern rivals ahead of the new derby between the Dolphins and the Broncos, which was played in front of a vociferous crowd at Suncorp. And since the master coach's comments, Queensland Rugby League chair Hatcher told The Daily Telegraph that an 18-club competition should be the future.
This would involve one Sydney team relocating to Perth for the expansion. "There are too many teams in Sydney, but if you take one team out of Sydney and move it to Perth, we will have a better-balanced competition with a national footprint,” Hatcher said to the publication.
“I’m not going to name which (Sydney) team should go, I will leave that to the ARL Commission. The AFL has relocated teams with South Melbourne and Fitzroy and while it took time, the Sydney Swans and Brisbane Lions are now forces of their competition.
“Everyone agrees with me behind the scenes, but no-one ever talks about it openly.”
NRL boss Peter V'Landy's recently told Triple M radio the Dolphins were being used as a test case on what works and what doesn't before another team is considered. “We haven’t put a time on it. It could be in 2025 or it could be in 2027 when the broadcast contract comes up for renewal,” he said.
However, if the Brisbane derby is anything to go by, another Queensland team could be an option due to the strength of the support.
Dolphins and Broncos lift off at Suncorp
On Friday the Broncos scored in the final moments to secure a thrilling 18-12 derby win over the Dolphins in front of a packed crowd. Before the game, the Dolphins CEO Terry Reader had said the Broncos were now "co-tenants" of Suncorp Stadium with the new team.
This sparked some anger within Brisbane and centre Kotoni Staggs made his feelings known when scored the match winner.
Staggs raced 100 metres to score the final try in the 77th minute on Friday night before becoming animated and vocal. The centre turned to the crowd and yelled "who owns Suncorp Stadium" to win over Broncos' hearts.
I just said, 'This is our home'. There might have been an 'F' word there but I was just a bit emotional with such a good way to finish the game," Staggs said.
"We knew the battle against them was going to be about who owns Suncorp ...with another Brisbane team coming in. That just came straight to mind when I scored. It is our home. The Cowboys have been a good game in previous years and we have another now with the Dolphins."
Staggs' words only strengthen the case for another Brisbane team if expansion is on the cards.
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