Coaches shouldn't fear Dragons job: Raper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coaches shouldn't fear Dragons job: Raper

Adrian Warren 06/02/2011 08:18:16 PM Comments (0)

St George rugby league legend Johnny Raper says other coaches shouldn't be fearful of following in the footsteps of Wayne Bennett at the Dragons should the premiership-winning mentor decide to leave the club at the end of this season.

Speculation over Bennett's future has rumbled on through the off-season with most recent reports saying he is certain to leave St George Illawarra following their 2011 campaign.

A number of clubs, including South Sydney, are believed to be interested in securing the services of Bennett, who steered the Dragons to a drought-breaking title last year.

Bennett, who is coaching the NRL All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars next weekend, was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

Raper, who was part of the dominant St George side of the 1960s, said he would be sorry to see Bennett leave the Dragons lair.

However, he was confident any replacement would still have a good chance of achieving success.

"The players themselves with their ability would enable another coach to be reasonably successful," Raper told AAP on Sunday.

"I'd hate to see him (Bennett) go, but other coaches shouldn't be frightened of accepting any approach made by St George."

St George-Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust said his club was keen for Bennett to consider an extension to his contract and was having "continuing discussions", but nothing had been resolved.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who is playing for Bennett in the NRL All Stars team, expressed some sadness about the plight of former teammate Ryan Tandy, who was charged on Wednesday with providing false evidence to a law enforcement agency during the course of an investigation.

Forward Tandy joined the Bulldogs from Melbourne during the course of last season.

Police had investigated the betting patterns surrounding a match between the Bulldogs and North Queensland in 2010 after there was a plunge on the first points of the game to be scored from a penalty goal.

Tandy gave away a penalty near the goal posts in the early stages of the match.

"I'm definitely sad to see anyone in a situation like this," said Smith.

"I got along with Ryan really well when he was at Melbourne and I never had any idea of him gambling or him having a gambling problem.

"I guess the best situation would have been that if our club would have known, that we would have tried to help him, but unfortunately he's one that slipped through the cracks of our club and moved on to another club where all this sort of drama happened."

Fellow NRL All Star forward Nathan Hindmarsh felt players found guilty of throwing a game should be banned for life, with lighter punishments for those found guilty of betting on games.

"Having a punt on a game, if that's what they are doing like betting on their own game, fines and maybe suspensions," Hindmarsh told reporters.

"Throwing games, I think a life ban."

In the first weekend of trials, South Sydney defeated Newtown 10-4, the Warriors drew 22-22 with Newcastle and the Roosters scored a 22-12 victory over the Ipswich Jets.

Both Rabbitohs prop Ben Ross and Roosters forward Anthony Cherrington made successful returns from injury, with Ross praising English youngster George Burgess on his first-up performance in Australia in 41 degree heat.

"For an 18-year-old he's astonishing, he's going to do big things in the future," Ross said of Burgess, who is the younger brother of the Rabbitohs' Great Britain international forward Sam.

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