Bennett rips into NRL

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has called on the NRL to immediately address the June 30 contractual deadline, which turns the competition on its head at this time of the year every season.

Speaking after Brisbane?s final training run before their clash with Canberra, Bennett labelled the deadline as ?the most ridiculous thing in the game?.

?We have all forgot about the wonderful State of Origins and some of the great football being played because all the focus is on players moving clubs for huge money? said the veteran Broncos mentor.

?We are the only code in the world that is allowed to self-destruct halfway through the season through players committing their future to one club while playing for another one.?

The league was also in Bennett?s crosshairs regarding the issue of player development and the lack of incentive for club?s to nurture their own future only to see it poached by big money offers by other clubs.

In recent times Brisbane has seen several young players depart Red Hill for big money offers including the likes of Chris Walker, Ashley Harrison, Lote Tuqiri, Ben Hannant and Justin Hodges.

Last week St George-Illawarra coach Nathan Brown bemoaned the lack of incentive for player development after his club was forced to let talented young forwards Mark Riddell and Brent Kite sign for big money at Parramatta and Manly.

?It (player development) is at the top of a list of a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but the league keeps putting them in the ?too hard? basket,? Bennett said.

?Some clubs can put their hands up regarding player development, but no one club has done more than we have to produce players. We have not got one benefit and it has cost us millions of dollars.

?Other clubs are starting to talk about it now because they have adopted the same development policy we have. Clubs like the Roosters and Dragons have poured time and money into it and they are getting hurt losing players.

?What is happening to St George at the moment is a tragedy. They have built a team up to a stage where they can do something and it gets torn apart halfway through a season. It?s terrible.?

The Newcastle Knights retention of Andrew Johns in the face of a massive offer from rugby union was one positive to come out of an otherwise distracting week for the code according to Bennett.

The recently appointed coach of the Australian side said he could understand the temptation of a code switch, but felt Johns? final decision was the right one for both player and code.

?I just couldn?t believe he?d go,? Bennett said.

?I know him and I like him and I couldn?t believe that he wouldn?t think that he didn?t owe rugby league anything.

?In the end I am sure that played a huge factor in his decision. There was a challenge in union, but he obviously felt he owed this game something and he wants to repay his debt.?

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