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Seven Days in League: Does Wayne Bennett shout at clouds?

THURSDAY NEWS breaks that Wayne Bennett has “stormed out” of the pre-match press conference in Brisbane.
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Oh no. I assume some muck-raker has asked Bennett if he is still “thinking with his little head” and the old fox has taken offence.

Turns out Wayne is actually trying to abide by Todd Greenberg’s #talkthegameup directive and wants to promote the blockbuster clash with Melbourne.

But the media hacks aren’t interested in talking the game up. All they’re interested in talking up is Wayne’s prospects of getting puntedand replaced by Craig Bellamy.

“You had [Cowboys coach] Paul Green coming here a month agoandnow we’ve moved on … I’m not entering any of your speculation,” Bennysays.

“You have to get on showsandtalk for hoursandyou have nothing to talk about, but you makeitup, whateveritis. You know more than I do.

“There is a great game of football [against Melbourne], let’s talk about the footyandleave the rest to you guys to speculate.

“If you want talk about the footy, I will leaveitat that … you guys haveruinedit.”

Poor old Wayne. He must wish he was back here in Newcastle, where the press –in particularly the local paper –treated him with appropriate respect.

FRIDAYTHERE is a theory that Cameron Smith is the NRL’s best referee. But what about Billy Slater?

Not only can Billy apparently have rival players sin-binned at will, but tonight he redefines what is traditonally regarded as a knock-on by kicking it ahead and grounding it in-goal.

Billy sends it upstairs to the bunker, but he’s just being modest.

As usual his decision is 100 per cent correct and the try is awarded.

SATURDAYI AM baffled bya columnist in a rival paper who seems to be having a crack at the Broncos’ master coach.

“Wayne Bennetthas become the old man shouting at clouds,” he declares in his lead paragraph.

This leaves Seven Days bemused, to say the least.

For starters, why is everyone suddenly lining up to put the boot into Wayne?

Secondly, what’s wrong with shouting at clouds?

There’s nothing worse than a nice, blue sky spoiled by a trespassing cloud.

You show me someone who thinks shouting at clouds is a waste of time and effort, and I’ll show you someone happy to accept mediocrity.

In Tamworth, Knights fans collectively exclaim “Pearce off” after their inspirational skipper leaves the field clutching a torn pectoral muscle.

Scans subsequently reveal Junior will need surgery and is facing up to four months on the sidelines.

It’s bloody typical. Pearceyplayed almost 250 NRL games for the Chooks and hardly ever missed any through injury.

It’s taken only a couple of months for the good, old Newcastle halfback curse to claim another victim.

SUNDAYJARRYD Hayne (remember him?) jumps on his soapbox after the Eels notchtheir first winof the season, 44-10 against a Manly team who for some reason are not quite on top of their game.

The Plane reckons media criticism of Parramatta coach Brad Arthur inspired the team’s dramatic form reversal.

“The emotion we’ve had to put up with and all the articles and that sort of stuff during the week … what really set everyone off was the way they spoke about Brad saying he lost the changeroom,”Haynedeclares.

“That was something that really stung all of us.”

It’s a shame the Plane didn’t bother reading the papers while he was on the Gold Coast. Neil Henry might still be ina job at the Titans.

MONDAYMANLY’Sculture is under scrutiny, amidrevelations that six players have been fined after the team’s recent trip to Gladstone.

Apparently after their 32-20 loss to Gold Coast, the Silvertails breached a team curfew to visit a licensed premisesknown as The Boardroom Bar, which players apparently mistook for an art gallery.

There have been no reports of players disgracing themselves within the establishment, so one can only assume they have been fined for the perception they were “thinking with their little heads”.

Five of the errant players remain unnamed, but it emerges that skipper Daly Cherry-Evans has imposed a $10,000 fine upon himself.

Hopefully the money goes towards a worthy cause, such as the team’s end-of-season Mad Monday celebrations in Kings Cross.

TUESDAY AKUILA Uate spent nine years at the Knights and never once said anything controversial.

But today he’s on the front foot, chastising the media for “dragging us [Manly] down” and suggesting we should #talkthegameup.

“You guys can help us by being positive,” he said.

“The NRL is the greatest game of all, and we need to move on from Gladstone.

“It’s a month ago now. We need to put it behind us now and move on.

“It’s not a good look when we know the real story but there’s a different story out there. We look bad.”

When asked to clarify what that “real story”is,Uatereplies: “I won’t comment on that.”

It tugs at my heartstrings when Aku points out that playershave “got feelingsas well”. Nonetheless, I’m not sure how qualified he is to be telling the media how to do their jobs.

FINE MESS: Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans is 10 grand out of pocket after a night out in Gladstone.

Perhaps Seven Days could have a crack at catching torpedo bombs on Manly’s right wing, and Aku could have a go at writing this column.

Some might suggest both would be an improvement.

WEDNESDAYTHE Broncos are reportedly poised to include 18-year-old propPayne Haas for Thursday’s clash with South Sydney.

The old fox has been in norush to blood Haas, apparently subscribing to the theory that there isa fine line between pleasure and Payne.

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