Wayne Bennett urges NRL to scrap bunker as Broncos lose Darius Boyd for semifinal

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says the NRL would be better off with less technology.
BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says the NRL would be better off with less technology.

Wayne Bennett says he empathises with NRL coaches who were fined for blasting referees and believes the bunker should be scrapped.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg was forced to front a press conference this week and told coaches to "grow up" after Cronulla's Shane Flanagan and Manly's Trent Barrett were fined a total of A$50,000 ($55,000) for venting on referees as their teams bowed out of the finals.

But Bennett could feel for his fellow coaches ahead of Brisbane's knockout NRL semifinal against Penrith.

Darius Boyd has ruled himself out of Friday's semifinal against Penrith.
BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

Darius Boyd has ruled himself out of Friday's semifinal against Penrith.

"It's a difficult one. It is pretty unfair on the coaches because their season is finished and they are in a pretty bad emotional state," the Broncos mentor said.

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"Then they go to a press conference and are asked about the referees - it's pretty hard not to say what you really think.

"I have a lot of empathy for them. It's the last place you want to be."

While Bennett could understand why Greenberg came to protect the referees this week, he believed the game would be better with less technology - and the bunker.

"I would scrap the bunker, I would do it tomorrow," Bennett said.

"Personally I didn't want it to come in in the first place.

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"I think we need less technology than more, I hope we go that way in the future.

"Todd is trying to give them protection because it (referee criticism) does trickle down (to grass roots).

"But I have always said the bunker will make mistakes - it's human nature.

"The most popular sport in the world is soccer and the only technology is a ball going into the goal - they understand the ramifications if they have the technology and they don't want it."

Bennett has much more to worry about than the bunker after Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd made the brave call to pull out of Friday's match due to a hamstring injury.

The Broncos had been sweating on Boyd after he missed last week's qualifying final loss to Sydney Roosters and looked set to get the all clear when he completed the majority of Thursday's training session at Suncorp Stadium.

However, Boyd still made the tough call to withdraw from the sudden death clash.

Kodi Nikorima will start at fullback for Boyd with Kiwi veteran Benji Marshall remaining in the halves with Anthony Milford.

"He won't play tomorrow night. It was his call," Bennett said.

"He just doesn't feel like he will be at his best.

"He's not running at full speed. He's not at that place where he is not thinking about it all the time."

Bennett said Boyd was no guarantee for next week if the Broncos overcame the Panthers.

"He's always been honest and he is a perfectionist," Bennett said of Boyd's call to withdraw.

"If he doesn't feel like he can do his best I would rather that (pull out) than him going out tomorrow night and letting everyone down.

"But he's no guarantee for next week."

Bennett said he was never tempted to reshuffle his backline again despite Marshall's quiet effort against the Roosters last week.

Bennett ruled out repeating last week's tactic when he started David Mead at fullback and replaced him with Nikorima after the first 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bench forward Tevita Pangai Junior also succumbed to a hamstring injury on Thursday.

NRL SUDDEN DEATH SEMIFINALS

Broncos vs Panthers
9.55pm Friday, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
* Winner advances to the preliminary final against Storm, Friday September 22

Eels vs Cowboys 
9.40pm Saturday, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
* Winner advances to the preliminary final against Roosters, Saturday September 23

 

 - AAP

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