Wayne Bennett (right) during Brisbane Broncos training at Clive Berghofer Field. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England
Wayne Bennett (right) during Brisbane Broncos training at Clive Berghofer Field. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

Bennett furious at Brown’s backstab

A FURIOUS Wayne Bennett will hold a showdown with Nathan Brown after the Newcastle mentor ignited the NRL's latest feud by launching an extraordinary attack on the Broncos super coach.

The NRL confirmed Brown will not face any sanction for bringing the game into disrepute after he used an official press conference to launch a savage personal attack on a rival coach.

But the Courier-Mail can reveal Bennett will personally contact Brown to thrash out the motivation behind his outburst following the Knights' 15-10 defeat of Brisbane last Saturday night.

Bennett declined to comment publicly, but it is understood he believes he has been backstabbed by Brown after the Broncos coach helped his Knights counterpart in pre-season.

According to sources, Brown consulted Bennett, his Newcastle coaching predecessor, two months ago while doing due diligence on a possible player signing.

Last July, after Brisbane won a round 19 clash 34-22 in Newcastle, Bennett urged Knights hierarchy to stick by Brown, insisting he was the right coach to bring success to the club.

Brown let rip with a shot at Bennett’s private life.
Brown let rip with a shot at Bennett’s private life.

Now the pair are at loggerheads, with Brown clearly feeling the need to hit back at Bennett after the Broncos coach said last Friday that the Newcastle coach had "unbuilt" the Knights.

In a remarkable post-match spray, Brown accused Bennett of putting his personal life before the pursuit of premierships during his three seasons at Newcastle in 2012-14.

It was a veiled reference to Bennett's new partner Dale Cage, whom he met in Newcastle while she worked as a receptionist for the Knights' club doctor.

"The reality is when Wayne came to town (as Newcastle coach) ... if he thought with his big head, rather than his little head, I wouldn't have had to rebuild the joint," Brown said.

"It's a bit sad. The old fox (Bennett) has won seven premierships, coached for 30 years and I ain't ever publicly bagged Wayne or anyone and he comes and has a shot at me.

"He doesn't need to behave like that."

Bennett was reportedly mystified by the attack.
Bennett was reportedly mystified by the attack.

Bennett is privately shocked and mystified by Brown's attack. The 68-year-old believes he only provided a professional assessment of Brown, while the Knights coach got personal and dragged the issue into the gutter.

Brown spoke out again on Triple M radio on Sunday. While admitting his spray took the gloss off Newcastle's win, he did not apologise to Bennett. He also said he would be happy to talk to Bennett ... but wouldn't be picking up the phone first.

"I'm always happy to have a conversation with anyone," he said on Triple M.

"The only thing is I was hurt by the fact that Wayne criticised me when I have taken a holistic approach to give the Newcastle team and town something long-term.

"I have never criticised anyone else ... but maybe what I said didn't come out right.

"The thing I'm disappointed about is at the end of the day we should be talking about the players. It was our best performance in my time at the club, we should be talking about that rather than what Wayne said and what I said back."

The Knights and Broncos will not play again this season.
The Knights and Broncos will not play again this season.

Broncos front-row great Shane Webcke said Brown's attack on Bennett was unwarranted and over the top.

"The Nathan Brown I know, he wouldn't have said that if it wasn't the heat of the moment," he said.

"It was an emotional response. In my experience, and I've been guilty of it, it never works. You say things in the heat of the moment but more often than not, if you act on emotion, you regret it.

"Wayne is a big boy, he can handle this. Words are only words. I'm sure he will be disappointed but it won't be a lifelong grudge.

"Nathan is a good bloke and maybe he will regret it, maybe he doesn't. It will be up to Nathan, but those things are never good in the public forum."

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