Wayne Bennett: Rugby League needs to embrace international game

England coach Wayne Bennett says rugby league needs to prioritise the international set-up for the sport to become a global product.

England put on an entertaining show to beat New Zealand 36-18 in emphatic fashion in Denver on Saturday.

There were 19,320 people in attendance at the Mile High Stadium and Bennett said prioritising the international game is the way forward for the sport.

He said: “I hope they invite us back next year because I want to be there, the team want to be there and it was a great atmosphere.

“I brought Queensland to America in 1987 and Australia in 2004 but this time was the best crowd we have ever had. I don’t want to leave it behind like we did in the other years, we have got to come back because we have got a great product.

“I went down to the sidelines in the last five minutes of the game and I couldn’t hear anything because of the atmosphere. I just want the game to embrace it. We had a lot of issues with the game actually getting there but I hope we can go back there and put in a print in places like Denver and America.

“If we don’t have a global product, we are not going to have a product in 20 years because sport is changing very quickly.”

Several NRL clubs were reluctant to allow their players to play in the Denver Test due to ‘safety concerns’ over high altitude as well as travel times.

But Bennett has hit back at the clubs, insisting that there should not have been a problem with the game going ahead in the United States in the first place.

He added: “It defies logic to me.

“We can let Samoa play Tonga, Papua New Guinea play Fiji and we can have a State of Origin game but they tried saying we couldn’t play the game on the same weekend. When they can justify that to me then I will drop off and say ‘you have made your point’, but they can’t do that.

“There are players who are playing State of Origin who will have to back that up on Thursday, but if we had better scheduling then we wouldn’t have to have our players back up on Thursday.”

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