Bennett says Sydney must keep NRL grand final

Wayne Bennett is not a fan moving the NRL Grand Final out of Sydney. Photo: AAP Image.
Wayne Bennett is not a fan moving the NRL Grand Final out of Sydney. Photo: AAP Image. DAN PELED

He has won more than any other coach in history but the traditionalist in Wayne Bennett says leave the NRL grand final in Sydney.

Major redevelopment and refurbishment of ANZ Stadium means the NRL's showpiece game of the season will have to be played at an alternative in 2018 and 2019 with the Queensland Tourism and Events keen to bring it to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, formerly Lang Park.

But Bennett, who has seven premiership titles, is not a fan of the grand final being played anywhere but in Sydney, its spiritual home since 1908 when South Sydney beat Eastern Suburbs 14-12 at Sydney's Royal Agricultural Showground in front of just 4000 fans.

"It doesn't excite me," said the Broncos coach when asked about the possibility of an historic grand final in Brisbane in a few years.

"Sydney is the home of the NRL grand final, it's as simple as that.

"Melbourne is the home of the AFL, so let's not tamper or play with it.

"If the stadium can't handle it they've got the Sydney Cricket Ground and we'd be happy to play there.

"It's not that I don't think Brisbane deserves it, but it's about the history of the game and the tradition which is pretty important to a lot of people. If we play around with it and we don't respect it then we lose a lot of people."

 

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Meanwhile, Bennett said he expected his former club Newcastle to bring plenty of aggression to Suncorp Stadium tonight after posting its first win of the season against the Tigers.

"That's how they'll play, they'll bring that aggression with Jeremy Smith and the Sims boys," he said.

Bennett said his players had been "a bit flat" since their epic grand final rematch win over North Queensland in round three.

"That game took a lot out of us physically and mentally, but we've got the job done and I am just hoping we can start to up the ante again," he said. "We've had an extra couple of days to freshen up and that's a big help."

Bennett said winger Corey Oates was still feeling some pain in his shoulder but if selected for Queensland "he would be ready".

Queensland has lost a few quality players, such as Justin Hodges, Billy Slater, and Will Chambers.

"There are opportunities for a few young players and Corey is as ready as anybody else," he said.

Knights fullback Dane Gagai will be one player Queensland selectors will be watching as he can play in all three positions they need to fill - fullback, wing and centre



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