Bennett takes aim at Broncos hierarchy
(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
An exasperated Wayne Bennett has turned up the heat on Brisbane's hierarchy over their handling of his future as his team battles to stay in the NRL finals race.
Speaking before Thursday's crunch clash with South Sydney in Brisbane, Bennett downplayed reports of a fractured relationship with club CEO Paul White and also categorically denied any contact with other clubs about their head coaching job.
But Bennett - this week linked to a possible St George Illawarra return - was critical of the circus which has surrounded his position for most of the season as the eighth-placed Broncos face missing the finals for just the third time in 27 years.
"My option is to be here, simple as that. This is the club I want to be at," Bennett said.
"Last time I left (to coach the Dragons in 2009), I left for similar reasons, but made the decision to leave so this (sort of distraction) wouldn't happen.
"I made it easy for them last time, I'm not doing it this time."
Bennett has another season to run on his contract and says he is tired of fronting up to questions about his tenure.
"That disappoints me enormously; I have to come here and defend myself and nobody else will answer the questions I can't answer," he said
"Any distraction is a concern for me; it's not what good football teams need.
"The boys are handling it great but the bottom line is it's not what you want ... like everyone else they feel the pain.
"I always tried to avoid it and always worked really hard in my coaching life to avoid it."
More fuel was thrown on the fire when a story emerged that some players had gathered at the coach's house on the same day last week that White hosted a club gathering.
The 68-year-old coach downplayed the significance of it, saying the players had organised the social event in impromptu fashion and he'd thought they were joking at first, before admitting he enjoyed the evening.
He also said players weren't required to attend White's gathering, though some did.
"It's the drama queens at work," Bennett said.
"We had a great night, enjoyed each other's company and I'm pleased we did it."
Despite insisting he retained a solid working relationship with White, he was happy to turn the heat up over the on-going off-field drama.
"This is my 25th year here; I've protected this club more than anyone else has in that period of time," he said.
"I've always protected it from things that I believe are happening now ... we're a better club than all that."
© AAP 2018