Inside Word: What Wayne does well
With all the news this week being about Wayne Bennett's appointment to coach the Knights from next season, it was impossible to avoid talking about Newcastle's coup and what it means to their players to have the game's most successful coach on board.
After winning six premierships with the Broncos in his 21 years at the club and one premiership after two seasons with the Dragons, he deserves the incredible package thrown at him by the newly cashed-up Knights courtesy of mining magnate and billionaire Nathan Tinkler.
The Dragons were a talented team that needed direction before Wayne came along and transformed them into a premiership-winning outfit in just his second year with the club. No doubt this would have the Knights players excited about their prospects now that Bennett and Tinkler have joined forces in what will be a formidable partnership.
So what is it that Wayne does, that no other coach has been able to do, and why should the Newcastle players be excited? Wayne gets every bit of talent out of each individual and each player speaks so highly of him.
I was coached by Wayne in the 2005 Tri-Nations. He is very disciplined but he is also a lot different from how he is portrayed in the media. He does have a sense of humour, while also being very meticulous in his training sessions.
But above all he takes the time to get to know you not just as a player but as a person.
That is not to say that other coaches don't, but Wayne has a way of not only treating each person individually, but then getting everyone to come together on the same page - his page.
It is a huge coup for the Newcastle players for the season ahead. Quality players will be attracted to the club because of Wayne and also the security of the Tinkler resources and club facilities.
But the important thing now for the players is to keep their focus on this season and to treat their current coach Rick Stone with the utmost respect. They owe it to him, each other and their fans to still make 2011 count ... and not just be thinking about 2012 and beyond.
Also, if Rick accepts the proposed offer to stay on board as Wayne's assistant next season then he will no doubt have a great deal of input into the make-up of the team.
They would want to be at their best this season, on and off the field, if they want to be part of Wayne's World next year.
My tips for Round 6: Bulldogs, Titans, Eagles, Cowboys, Roosters, Knights, Storm, Dragons.