Bennett 'not poaching' for Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett 'not poaching' for Dragons

By Laine Clark 01/05/2008 07:40:59 PM Comments (0)

The future of several off-contract Broncos may still be unclear but Brisbane boss Bruno Cullen is convinced outgoing coach Wayne Bennett is not "sneaking around the joint" poaching players.

While riled by newspaper reports predicting a player exodus to St George Illawarra next year, Cullen has described the club's relationship with Dragons-bound Bennett as "open and honest".

Bennett has already lured Broncos high performance director Jeremy Hickmans to the Dragons.

That sparked speculation that prop Ben Hannant and hooker Michael Ennis would be next.

But Cullen said he was "pretty relaxed" with how player negotiations were placed.

"It would be silly for us to think St George should be out of the mix and all the others are in the mix (for off-contract Broncos players)," he said.

"And it would be more damaging if Wayne was sneaking around the joint and getting people to act on his behalf ... to get players to sneak in through St George's back door.

"At the moment everything is fair and above board.

"It's part of the negotiation process we go through this time every year - while everyone is open and honest about it I haven't got a problem."

It is understood Hannant and Ennis have not been offered contracts by the Broncos for 2009 and beyond.

Ennis - who has battled to establish himself as Brisbane's No.1 hooker since arriving from the Dragons in 2006 - is more likely to go than Hannant who has strong family ties on the Gold Coast.

Ennis is expected to be targeted by Newcastle as a replacement for ex-NSW and Australian No.9 Danny Buderus.

Youngster Darius Boyd is another believed to be attracting attention from Sydney clubs.

Cullen said Bennett's assistant and 2009 head coach Ivan Henjak had been heavily involved in player retention.

"Contract-wise there is still work to be done but we are pretty relaxed with where we are," Cullen said.

"I'm not saying we are getting everything we want done as quickly as we want. Hopefully everything will come out the way we want at the end of the day.

"We are probably close to a couple (of re-signings) but I am not going to name them in case they don't think they are as close as I think and might get dirty with me for saying it."

Asked if he was concerned the Dragons could snap up Broncos players, Cullen said: "So could Cronulla, Manly or Melbourne - players are coming off contract, when they come off contract they are in the open market.

"Quite frankly if you don't want to be at the Broncos and we can't give you what you need to keep you at the Broncos, you are better off going where you are going.

"I'm not sending a message out to the players. I am just stating facts.

"We want people at the joint who want to be at the joint. Hopefully we will do that."

But Cullen admitted he had been "riled" by reports of players leaving en masse with Bennett to the Dragons.

"We know what we are doing and we do get upset when there are inaccuracies along the way - but we've been in control of what we have been doing," he said.

"But our focus has not been on the Dragons or Wayne. Our focus is on the Broncos and moving forward."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news