Lockyer reveals why Bennett's the man - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer reveals why Bennett's the man

Darren Walton 27/04/2011 02:03:46 PM Comments (0)

He ranks as arguably the greatest coach in rugby league history, yet Darren Lockyer says it's Wayne Bennett's softer, caring side more than tactical nous that sets him apart.

Less than two weeks after signing a four-year, multi-million dollar deal to coach Newcastle from next season, 61-year-old Bennett quietly notched his 650th game as a big-time coach with yet another victory this week.

It begs the question: what exactly is the secret of Bennett's long history of success?

Australian, Queensland and Brisbane captain Lockyer said his long-time mentor's soft touch - beneath that often stern exterior - was the biggest factor.

"He coaches you on the field, but he coaches you off the field as well," Lockyer told AAP.

"Many times there's been players, including myself, when they've needed advice about something unrelated to footy and you just feel comfortable about picking up the phone and ringing Wayne and asking him.

"I think a lot of players who have been coached by him for an extended period feel like they know him well enough to lean on him when they need to, and he's always there.

"That's probably what sets him apart from a lot of other coaches."

Lockyer spent 14 seasons playing under Bennett at the Broncos and also played extensively under the supercoach for Queensland and country.

"His overall record speaks volumes for his ability as a coach," Lockyer said.

"But it's not so much his tactics in a game. It's just how he's able to get the most out of each individual and that's his real strength.

"I wouldn't say a motivator is the right word to describe him, but he cares about his players and they want to play for him and he knows how to make a person believe in themselves.

"And once he gets 17 of them believing in themselves, they're hard to stop."

As evidenced by the fact Bennett guided the Broncos to six grand final triumphs from six attempts before linking with St George Illawarra in 2009 and ending the Dragons' 31-year title drought in his second season at the famous club.

No letting up, Bennett's defence-minded Dragons suffocated the Sydney Roosters 24-10 in their grand final rematch on Anzac Day for their fifth straight win and a share of the competition lead with the Broncos.

"They are a wonderful team. They play as a team all the time. There is no individualism. "They have got such belief in themselves," Bennett ominously said after masterminding his 416th win as an NRL or representative coach.

Since cutting his teeth as co-coach of Canberra in 1987, when the Raiders lost the grand final to Manly, Bennett has chalked up a record 650 games in charge of Canberra, Brisbane, St George Illawarra, Queensland, Australia and the NRL All Stars.

He was also Stephen Kearney's assistant when New Zealand conquered Australia in the 2008 World Cup final and next year Bennett will join Newcastle in his bold bid to become the first coach ever to win NRL premierships with three different clubs.

Lockyer has no doubts he has learned from the master - but that won't prompt the 34-year-old to rush into any coaching apprenticeship himself when he hangs up the boots at season's end.

"No, it's not a big goal," Lockyer said. "Immediately, I have no real desire to get involved in coaching.

"I've said to people I won't rule it out, though, because in two years' time when I've got away from the game and find that I really miss it and want to get back into it, then that's the only way."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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