Bennett has not made many friends while building out his roster for the Dolphins’ inaugural NRL season in 2023.
The NRL super coach has ruffled the feathers of his peers after holding conversations with players from rival teams, many of which are still being under contract.
Bennett has built a first grade roster from the ground up in the past, forming the Brisbane Broncos talented side in 1988 before going on to win premierships in 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2006 and the 1997 Super League title.
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As its stands, Bennett is yet to sign a marquee man, missing out on a list of star names including Kalyn Ponga, Jahrome Hughes, Harry Grant, Reed Mahoney, Reece Walsh and Brandon Smith.
In his pursuit of Hughes and Grant, who have since re-signed, the Storm were vocal in telling Bennett to steer clear.
Now Bennett is heavily linked to playmaker Cameron Munster, with Melbourne powerbrokers sending a complaint to the Dolphins surrounding his pursuit.
NewsCorp reported Bennett and the Dolphins were prepared to buy out Munster’s $1.2 million contract for 2023 to get him in time for their inaugural season.
“(Munster is) still in the process of him talking to Melbourne, finding out what his future is there, and talking to us in between,” Bennett said.
“The NRL haven’t told us we have broken any rules, they are the governing body, so we will continue doing what we are doing.”
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According to NRL guidelines, clubs are prohibited from officially approaching a player until he has less than 12 months left on his contract, leaving Bellamy seething at the idea of his rival coach attempting to lure one of his key men away.
The Daily Telegraph’s Brent Read said that he believed Bennett is having “a great time” attempting to lure top talent to his new team.
“He is having a free swing, he is basically untouchable but he is not a registered in the game anyway, because he is actually not the coach of a club at the moment, they are not in the NRL,” Read said on NRL360.
“He should be though Ready, the NRL should make the Dolphins abide by the same rules other clubs act by,” NRL360 host Paul Kent replied
“It is like Wayne has been out of the spotlight for a bit, and he is back in it and he is sort of loving jabbing everyone,” Read said.
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Meanwhile, Bennett flagged Titans gun David Fifita as a potential target on Wednesday, again potentially angering another rival coach in Justin Holbrook who has been unable to unlock his million-dollar man’s true potential.
“What about Holbrook, he’d have to take that personally wouldn’t he,” NRL360 host Braith Anasta asked.
“I think he would, I think it is a bit disrespectful, I know that Wayne wouldn’t like it,” Broncos legend Gorden Tallis said.
“Basically if Wayne is sitting there and he is coaching the Gold Coast Titans now and there is a new franchise and then they started to talk to all of his players I know that he wouldn’t like it.”
“Holbrook is entitled to ring him up and say hey mate, get out of it,” Paul Kent said.
Bennett was also criticised for holding a secret meeting with re-signed Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga in a ploy to sign him on a huge deal to entice him north.
Andrew Johns, the Newcastle side’s spine consultant and the eighth immortal, slammed Bennett’s recruitment tactics, labelling the meeting “poor form”.
“It affects them (as players),” Johns said on the Sunday Footy Show.
“I just think it’s poor form if Wayne flew down to Newcastle to meet with a player, while they are playing that season.
“Kalyn’s carrying a knee injury so you saw he was limited (against the Sharks).
“But it would definitely have been a distraction.”
Another coach Bennett annoyed in his pursuit of first grade talent is the Warriors Nathan Brown.
The Dolphins were in hot pursuit of young gun Reece Walsh, who this week confirmed he would see out his contract with the New Zealand club and return to the club’s Auckland base in a blow for the NRL’s 17th team.
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