There were three “sure things” in Australian sport last week – the West Indies losing, Eddie Jones getting the axe and Phil Gould blaming Wayne Bennett for the Kangaroos’ Tri-Nations loss.
All three came to pass, the third in yesterday’s Sun-Herald where Gould used his column to give Bennett an almighty spray – over his approach to the media as coach – but also his coaching style. Now Bennett led with his chin when he avoided the waiting media on his return from the ill-fated UK tour late last week.
And while Gould’s attack focused on Bennett’s notoriously bad relations with the media, the underlying message was that the Bennett coaching style has just about reached its “used by” date. And he did not miss the ARL administration in the process.
My views on blaming coaches for a team’s loss, and even for poor individual performances, are well known. But Gould makes some valid points about the Kangaroos team, its discipline, and its commitment. It is time the game’s owners, including News Limited, got serious about the rabble that is the Australian Rugby League, because that’s where the lion’s share of the blame and responsibility lies.
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And he is right in saying that Wayne Bennett has to be reasonably accessible to the media: win, lose or draw.