Win ensures no tough week for Bennett

Laine Clark
Wayne Bennett celebrated his 496th win of his career after Broncos beat Parramatta

Tough week? What tough week?

Wayne Bennett was at his unflappable best after Brisbane celebrated his record 800th game with a stirring 18-10 NRL win over Parramatta, brushing aside a tumultuous build-up.

In his 32nd season, Bennett's future at his beloved Broncos is up in the air for the first time after Brisbane CEO Paul White confirmed this week that they were pursuing off contract Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy.

Not that anyone could tell after Brisbane secured their fourth win in five games to keep Bennett on track for the 27th finals series of his career.

Bennett was his usual stoic self post-match, denying any of the Bellamy speculation had been a distraction.

He said his players were so oblivious of the off-field controversy that they didn't even know White had held a press conference at Broncos training on Wednesday to address the Bellamy speculation.

Asked if it was a tough week, Bennett said: "I don't think it was tough.

"The players don't know what is going on. It's an issue within the club but no issues that impact on these guys.

"They didn't know a press conference was going on (Wednesday), they were too busy training.

"They are men enjoying themselves and playing footy."

In fact Bennett reckoned the biggest challenge was getting his team ready mentally to back up from their inspirational last round win over Sydney Roosters.

"You don't understand how hard it is sometimes to get back up after an outstanding game like last week," he said.

"A lot of those young guys were fighting battles in their minds about how they were going to play but they won that battle fortunately."

The milestone match marked Bennett's 496th win of his career.

Bennett didn't want to talk about game No.800 before the match and didn't change his tune after it.

Asked if he had been able to get his head around the landmark, Bennett said: "No."

Broncos skipper Darius Boyd marvelled at the way his young team had been able to block out the Bennett dramas.

"We are under scrutiny and pressure the most and there are a lot of young guys in the team who don't feel it," he said.

"The things we constantly go through and still come out and perform, I am really proud of the group."

Leading the way were Tevita Pangai (171m), Joe Ofahengaue (122m) and Jaydn Su'A (118m) in a starting backrow depleted by Test forwards Matt Gillett (neck) and Josh McGuire (ankle) and Kiwi Alex Glenn (knee).

"It (injuries) is not what you want but if they handle it the way they have it's great - it is invaluable for the club," Bennett said of their impressive depth.