Wayne Bennett has confirmed his interest in Gold Coast Titans second-rower David Fifita and also says the Dolphins are playing within the rules as they attempt to bolster their roster for 2023.
Bennett and the Dolphins are causing something of a stir in the NRL right now. They appear to be ruffling one or two feathers as they pursue players for their debut campaign.
They courted criticism for their pursuit of Kalyn Ponga before he re-signed with the Knights. Now the Melbourne Storm are not impressed with their interest in Cameron Munster.
It has kicked off suggestions the Storm have issued Bennett and co with a hands-off warning. The Dolphins are free to talk to Munster. They just cannot offer him a deal for 2024 until 1st November this year.
However it was Bennett’s hint they are trying to land him for 2023 that has angered the Storm. He is under contract next season and going nowhere they insist.
“(Munster is) still in the process of him talking to Melbourne, finding out what his future is there, and talking to us in between,” Bennett said.
“The NRL haven’t told us we have broken any rules, they are the governing body, so we will continue doing what we are doing.”
Bennett could be set for more strife following his latest comments on Titans star Fifita. The 22-year-old is having a tough time since heading to the Gold Coast from the Broncos.
The former Broncos ace is facing four weeks on the sidelines through injury. But even when fit Titans coach Justin Holbrook has not been able to get the best out of him.
Wayne Bennett admires Fifita
It was put to Bennett if he would be able to. He refused to answer but did declare his interest in coaching Fifita one day.
“It’s not my job to coach other players at other clubs, but I have a lot of respect for Dave. I know what a wonderful player he can be, it’s just not happening for him right now and that’s for him and his coach to work out,” Bennett told reporters.
“If he is on the market then yes, we’re interested. You can’t walk away from quality players, but he isn’t on the market just yet, so we will have to wait.”
Bennett is desperate to land some marquee signings but it is proving difficult. Ponga, Jahrome Hughes, Harry Grant, Reed Mahoney, Reece Walsh and Brandon Smith have already slipped through the net. Which makes Bennett even more determined to land Munster and possibly Fifita.