Henjak and I still friends, says Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak and I still friends, says Bennett

By Wayne Heming 30/08/2008 04:14:24 PM Comments (0)

Departing Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has broken his silence to declare his long-standing friendship with assistant coach Ivan Henjak is alive and well despite reports suggesting the pair have fallen out.

Bennett has not spoken to the media before an NRL game this season.

But he fronted up on Saturday and was forthcoming about reports this week of a simmering feud with Henjak who'll take over as head coach when Bennett joins the Dragons next season after 21 straight seasons at Red Hill.

Henjak has admitted it has been difficult at times with both men planning for 2009.

But at no stage has he said publicly his relationship with Bennett, which goes back to their days at Canberra, had soured.

"Criticism goes with what we do and if you dwell on it then it pulls you down in the end," said Bennett after Brisbane lost hooker Michael Ennis (virus) for Sunday's NRL clash with the Bulldogs.

"There's not an issue with Ivan and myself, there never has been."

Bennett first struck up a friendship with Henjak when he coached Canberra with Don Furner in 1987.

"I've employed him three different times when he's come back from reserve grade coach or state league, and then as my assistant coach.

"We've had a long friendship and nothing has changed.

"Ivan's been more than capable, he's be very good, he's a good coach."

Bennett said the media always went looking for the headline or story, anything except what happened on the football field.

"The Olympics are over, the Cowboys aren't in the finals, the Titans aren't doing real good, the Lions aren't doing real good, they've been beaten up all year, so let's go back to good old reliable Broncos ... we'll find something there," he said.

"That's the reality. If you beat yourself up over it, nobody cares, they just write another story tomorrow and you move on."

Bennett rubbished a photo in Brisbane newspaper through the week under the headline "Flashpoint" which depicted him pointing a finger at Henjak during a training session and suggesting they were having "words".

"Photos can indicate anything," he said.

"You take a thousand photos here and you find in 999 of them I'm standing there doing nothing.

"But you find one and you think 'Oh, I'll use that one' to glorify your point.

"You guys (media) are masters at it."

Brisbane's players have divorced themselves from any rift talk with skipper Darren Lockyer saying the relationship between the two coaches was not a talking point among the players.

Chief executive Bruno Cullen said on Friday he was happy both Bennett and Henjak were doing their jobs and didn't feel the need to speak to either coach.

"They're both very professional coaches and they're both very focused on getting the job done and I'm very relaxed about that," said Cullen.

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