Wayne Bennett lets rip at NRL journalist after Dolphins' debut victory

The master-coach inspired the new club to an incredible win over the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.

Wayne Bennett, pictured here cracking it at a journalist after the Dolphins' win over the Roosters.
Wayne Bennett cracked it at a journalist after the Dolphins' win over the Roosters. Image: Getty/NRL

Wayne Bennett has taken aim at a journalist in a fiery press conference after inspiring the Dolphins to an incredible win over the Roosters in their inaugural NRL game. Widely tipped to take the wooden spoon in 2023, the Dolphins shocked the NRL world on Sunday with a 28-18 win over the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.

Bennett was in a playful mood after the extraordinary victory, but he didn't want a bar of one particular journalist in his press conference. The master-coach was apparently still fuming about a story written in the pre-season about his absence from one of the Dolphins' trial games.

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“They brought you up? It must have been a big game,” Bennett said to the journalist.

“Are you still looking for me? Well I went to Cairns and you were looking for me, weren’t you?

“I’m not sure I want to answer your question mate because you haven’t had the decency to ring me about it. Well you made me a headline over it and no you didn’t bother to ask me where I was. You went on your little trip and had your say and you can’t just give it and not take it.”

Brisbane Broncos great Gorden Tallis had also previously criticised Bennett for his conspicuous absence from the Dolphins' pre-season clash with the Cowboys. “Why isn’t the coach in (the club’s) first year going?” Tallis asked on the 'Footy Talk' podcast. “I was in Gladstone with him last weekend... I was quite impressed with what the Dolphins are doing.

“Wayne was up there. He had a really young squad, all the young kids and [he] didn’t even go to that game either. Two weeks in a row (he didn’’t go).”

Felise Kaufusi leads Dolphins to incredible debut win

Dolphins back-rower Felise Kaufusi was the star of the Dolphins' incredible performance, turning the game and winning the Artie Legacy Medal as man of the match. With the Roosters leading 12-6, Kaufusi pulled off two huge hits on Brandon Smith and Egan Butcher that left the Sydney side rattled.

Both tackles produced turnovers and Mark Nicholls crashed over for the Dolphins not long after to make it 12-12. "That was the turning point of the game. I don't think they recovered from that," Bennett said.

Kaufusi was the Dolphins' first big signing in November 2021. The new club missed out on a number of big names since and have been reminded of it constantly in the media.

"It was quite funny because I had a phone call with Wayne after I signed," Kaufusi recalled. "Other players weren't coming and he said, 'If I have to play, I will put on a jumper'. That gave me confidence.

Dolphins players, pictured here celebrating during their win over the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.
Dolphins players celebrate during their win over the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

"The media was going, 'You didn't get this person or this person', but he just reassured me that it doesn't matter who we get. He will put people in there that are going to compete. That is all I worried about."

Bennett also led the Broncos to victory in their debut match against Manly 35 years ago. "Of course it compares," Bennett said.

"The Broncos were game one. The Dolphins are game one. We played Manly that day and no-one gave us a chance. No one gave us a chance much here today.

"It's terribly significant. One of the most difficult things is to get that first win. It settles everything down.

"A loss here today would have put us under a hell of a lot more pressure. A loss years ago would have done the same to the Broncos. It was important, and the way we played was important."

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