Door open to adopted Kiwi Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Door open to adopted Kiwi Bennett

By Wayne Heming 05/05/2009 05:40:15 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has telephoned adopted Kiwi Wayne Bennett several times for advice before Friday night's Test and says the super coach is welcome in camp any time.

Kearney would not say if Bennett, who helped the Kiwis pull off a massive World Cup final upset against Australia six months ago, would drop in for a motivational talk prior to Friday night's Test at Suncorp Stadium.

Bennett, Queensland's coach of the century and six-time premiership winner from as many grand finals, helped instil the self belief the Kiwi players needed to beat the world champion Kangaroos last November - a win that finally earned them the tag of world's best.

Kearney said on Tuesday he'd already been in contact with Bennett.

"I'm not sure if he will talk to the players, but I've been on the phone to him a few times already," Kearney told AAP on Tuesday.

"He's a passionate man. We were very, very fortunate to have him involved last year.

"I know what qualities he brought to me personally and the experience he gave me and our whole group.

"The qualities are still with us and as a show of respect for him we want to play with that same passion.

"As I've always said, Wayne is always welcome in our camp but I know he is a busy man."

Kearney, who performed the Haka 47 times for New Zealand in Tests, said he thought Australia's challenge to the Kiwis' pre-game ritual before last year's World Cup was "wonderful".

In a shock tactic which Kangaroo captain Darren Locker revealed this week was planned, the Australians linked arms and marched at Kiwis as they performed their traditional pre-match war dance before last year's World Cup final.

"I thought it was wonderful," said Kearney who boasts an impressive coaching record of six wins from eight Tests.

"I didn't think it was disrespectful at all, it was very emotive from both sides.

"It uses up a lot of emotional energy but when it's finished we're very clear about getting on with the job."

Bookmakers had the Kiwis underdogs and Kearney said their victory over Australia last November was past history.

"We're very mindful that was last year and we're not playing for the World Cup this time," he said.

"This is the Anzac Test and notoriously it hasn't been a good match for us which means we know the task that we face."

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