Bennett’s Bunnies ‘stand behind’ besieged NRL boss V’landys in light of player mutiny push
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has implored ARLC chairman Peter V’landys not to back down in the face of player power, despite Rugby League Players Association boss Clint Newton claiming the game’s stars are “frustrated, angry, confused and concerned” about the game.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Newton stopped short of declaring the players wanted to oust V’landys, but Bennett urged the chairman to continue making tough if unpopular decisions.
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“There is a big push on behind the scenes between some of the biggest names in the game in Luke Keary and Daly Cherry-Evans who have been driving this,” James Hooper said on Triple M.
“They are not happy with the way that V’Landys has sprung the latest crackdown on high shots on the game and the players.
“As a result they have been ringing around asking questions about the constitution and how you can potentially overthrow the chairman.”
However Bennett believes V’landys has the game’s best interests at heart and should stand his ground.
“South Sydney stand behind the chairman and the CEO, there’s not an issue at South Sydney – not with my players and staff,” Bennett told the Herald.
“We believe in what the game is doing. From a playing point of view and coaching point of view, we didn’t have a situation where we have had to go back and reinstruct them how to play the game.
“We’ve never coached them to hit them in the head. So what’s that on about. It’s been in the rule book since 1908. The disciplined clubs are already not doing it.”
Paul Kent blasted the players in light of the fact that the crackdown was brought in entirely with their best interests at heart.
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“I Just think what a disgraceful thing after everything that Peter V’landys did to save the game last year,” Kent said on Triple M.
“The fact that this decision that they are up in arms about is about nothing else but their own protection and welfare.
“There is not a coin in it for the NRL. There is no other motive other than to protect the players.
“Luke Keary is more vulnerable to concussions than most in this game. His next concussion could be his last.
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“We have already seen his captain Boyd Cordner still has not played this season due to concussion. We saw the other captain Jake Friend retire this season because of concussions.
“Luke Keary has been out for weeks in previous seasons because of concussions. This rule is for no other reason than the welfare of the players.
“For the players to sit and this is the bit that I just can’t get my head around. For the players to sit and say they don’t like the process that V’landys went through and they were not consulted. Why are they complaining if they were going to arrive at the same destination anyway.
“There is no way you can justify it is just a small whack in the face. The fact is a whack in the face is a whack in the face and concussions come in all different types.
“They have micro concussions and blackout concussions from blokes being unconscious on the field to the feeling of de ja vu again. The science that we know of is that they are the most dangerous concussions to suffer. There is a feeling that those are the ones that we have to get out.
“So the ones that the players are now arguing that it was just a high tackle and wasn’t intentional what a ridiculous argument. The brain doesn’t know whether it was intentional or not.”
RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said the playing group were frustrated with a lack of consultation over key issues affecting players, including rule changes.
“Players want to be respected and have their views help shape the game, as all stakeholders should,” Newton told the Herald.
“As it stands, players don’t feel like that’s happening.
“Players love the game. There’s no doubt everyone wants what’s best for the game. We all have an important perspective to share. All players are asking for is to be respected and be involved in the decisions which shape the game. That’s all it is.
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“All the feelings of the players are real. They’re frustrated, angry, confused, concerned. There are various levels of anxiety around certain things. They’re all real. They’re not made up. There’s an opportunity to take on board that and put some things in place which will create opportunity for change, or not.”
Asked whether V’landys should go, RLPA general president Daly Cherry-Evans said: “That’s not for me to decide. It’s a massive call.
“We’re talking about someone who has done so much in their industries and is an extremely qualified businessman. I’ve got so much respect for what he did during the Covid period. He’s always said he’s the players’ man, but right now I’d love to see Peter be that man for us.
“We’ve had our rules changed on the run mid-season with no consultation whatsoever. We’re adapting, we’re adjusting, we’re doing the best we can. But go ask the fans, do they like what they’re watching at the moment?”
Originally published asBennett backs under-fire V’landys as NRL stars slammed for ‘disgraceful’ revolt
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