Why Bennett's aura is very much intact
WAYNE Bennett didn't go rushing off to the lost and found department when certain members of the Sydney media alerted him via their newspapers articles, radio shows and TV segments that he had "lost his aura”.
He knew where it was all the time. Where it's always been.
Let's set the record straight from the start.
Bennett's private life is his private life, that's the way we all want our private lives to be, right?
But, unlike most of us, because he is a high-profile figure within the community, it gets scrutinised and written about, often by people who don't have all the facts.
Be that as it may, this latest "get Bennett” campaign - or as he refers to it "white smoke from the south” - is starting to wear a little thin and, to be honest, some of those who have jumped on board have axes to grind with the man.
When you've been a coach, and a highly successful won (seven premierships at last count), you are going to make enemies and in rugby league.
People, ex-players, officials and yes, even the media, can turn on you quicker than a rattlesnake can strike.
Did he leave St George Illawarra a mess? I know he left them with a premiership they had craved and dearly wanted and would probably still be chasing today if he hadn't walked through their doors.
Newcastle is trying to rebuild after Bennett's exit but is he totally to blame for the state it is in?
Coaches coach. They move on.
I've known Bennett for more than 30 years, not as someone who he confides in, or invites to dinner, but from the sidelines covering the game.
I think I know him well enough to know - despite the personal events of the past 12 months or so - that he hasn't lost his aura as a coach.
Because of recent events, some people may have changed their views and opinion of Bennett - as humans we all do that at some stage of our lives.
I once thought Darius Boyd was the most arrogant and rude player I had come across but my opinion of him has turned 360 degrees.
As a rugby league coach, Bennett is still the best, or one of the best, going around.
Why then this ongoing obsession to break Bennett down?
Here's a free tip for you guys, you're never going to win that battle.
Brisbane ran out against the defending premiers Cronulla in front of a hostile Shark Park crowd on Thursday night knowing their coach was under fire in some quarters and aware of mushrooming chatter he had lost the support of the dressing room.
They toughed out a scrappy battle, they dug deep, they stuck together, they flat out refused to buckle when the Sharks came to get them mid-way through the second half.
In the end they won like a united team - a team playing for each other - and their coach.