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England v Australia: Wayne Bennett not interested in ‘cheap talk’

Wayne Bennett

Wayne Bennett is vastly experienced, having started his coaching career in 1977

England rugby league coach Wayne Bennett has said he is “not interested in cheap talk” after being accused of failing to promote the game.

The Australian was criticised for his dealings with the media after England’s disappointing 38-12 win over Scotland in the Four Nations on Saturday.

England face Australia on Sunday in London, with Bennett up against a team he has previously coached twice.

“My players and my teams are my priority and always will be,” he said.

“I’m not interested in cheap talk and thinking I can promote the game with something I say,” added the 66-year old.

The Aussies have won both of their games in the competition, including a narrow 14-8 victory over New Zealand at the weekend, as they close in on a return to the world number one ranking.

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Four Nations: England 38-12 Scotland

But England struggled on their previous visit to the capital in last year’s Test series, where they lost 9-2 to New Zealand.

“The end result of what we all do is how the team performs on the football field. I’m a football coach, that’s what I am,” he said. “My job is to get the best out of those players and my job is to give you the best entertainment I possibly can.

“When that’s in place, what you say away from the game is really immaterial. That’s been my philosophy all my coaching life.

“I know the teams that I coach – if they play well and everybody enjoys the way they play, then we won’t have a shortage of fans and people interested in what they’re doing.”

Analysis – most players adore Bennett

Former Great Britain coach and BBC pundit Brian Noble on BBC Radio 5 live

Wayne Bennett is iconic in Australia. He does have a responsibility to the game, to explain it to the wider public, but he has certainly got us all talking about it.

He is no harder work now than he has been in 30 years of his coaching career and most players adore him.

The public persona is much misguided; he is a massive internationalist so a lot of the stories are slightly unfair.

I have been with him and talked with him for long periods and he is different behind the scenes – boy, do the players bounce off him.

His players think he is great because he is great with them. He takes the extra step with them and cares for them and they clearly understand that.

But he has been brought over to raise standards and if does not then his neck will be on the block like everybody else.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/37930739