ENGLAND rugby league coach Wayne Bennett says he does not want to open contract talks with the Rugby Football League until after the World Cup and then only if he is “delivering.”
It has been reported the RFL would like to extend the Australian’s deal before the tournament starts in October.
Veteran Bennett, rated the sport’s finest coach of all time, will see his two-year contract expire after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
He came in for some criticism after failing to reach the Four Nations final in November, his first competition in charge, but the RFL seem keen to tie him down for longer.
Bennett, 66, said: “I’d rather wait until after the World Cup. I’ve got to feel like I’m delivering something for them.
“If I don’t feel that is happening then I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. It’s not about winning and it’s not about losing, it’s about what I can deliver and what differences I can make to support what we’re trying to achieve.”
The national side have not won a major competition since Great Britain lifted the 1972 World Cup.
But Bennett – who accepted blame over the cancelled training trip to Dubai – believes there is too much of a fascination about success. He said: “You all talk about winning over here all the time and it’s driving me batty.
“There’s a bit more to it for me than winning: there’s a whole process in front of us and we’ve got to get that right and go through five or six weeks in Australia to be the best we can.
“You’re doing a lot of things right here; you’ve just got to stop looking at the glass being half empty, that’s the problem.”
Bennett described his time with the players during the Four Nations as “probably one of the most enjoyable months” in his entire career and labelled them an “outstanding” group.
However, with the ongoing debate that Super League players face too many games – they have two Easter-style double-header weekends in 2017 with player burn-out being one of the traditional theories for England’s continued failure – Bennett’s response was withering.
“At Brisbane, I’ve got six or seven playing State of Origin who have to back up two days later,” he said, ahead of his NRL club’s World Club Series game at Warrington Wolves tomorrow.
“Look, the draw is what it is. Whether it’s England or Australia, you’ve just got to adapt.
“If you want to start whingeing and moaning about it you’ve already given your players a reason to fail so I try to stay away from all that kind of talk.
“The players get treated better than ever before – and in Australia it’s the same.
“We’ve got 300 more game players than the sport has ever seen; the way they recover and rehab is remarkable.
“We all want to play less, but nobody wants to play for less money – if you’re getting the salary you’re getting right now you’ve got to work pretty bloody hard for it. Some get great salaries. It comes with the territory. You have to accept it.”
Bennett will not spend any more time here before the World Cup and said: “I’m going home – and not coming back again.
“I’ve been here three times in nine months and there’s no time for more, but I’ve other staff here who I met yesterday and today and we’re all on the same page.”
Bennett on Dubai: Page 23.