Anzac spirit brings Bennett to tears
An unprompted Wayne Bennett has revealed how Anzac Day commemorations brought him to tears on Saturday and implored the NRL to replicate the five-game extravaganza in years to come.
More than 114,000 people attended NRL matches in five cities on Saturday with stirring Anzac Day ceremonies observed at each of them, the Broncos rounding out a good day for the Queensland teams with a 28-16 win over the Eels.
Anzac Round continues on Sunday with matches in Sydney in Cairns and will culminate next Friday with the Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand back at Suncorp Stadium.
Anzac Day falls on a Monday in 2016 but Bennett doesn't believe that should prevent the game from delivering a similar program for footy fans up and down the eastern seaboard.
"It doesn't have to [be played on a weekend]. It's Anzac Day; it's special, it's unique, it's different," Bennett said at the end of his post-match press conference.
"Anzac Day is bigger than just Sydney, that's my point. We've got a national competition, I'm sure New Zealand today loved what happened over there, I'm sure they did in Newcastle and in Melbourne, they're all different markets.
"They deserve to have a game like this and we could do one in every capital city in Australia on Anzac Day. I'd love it.
"If it means a bit of inconvenience for the game then we'll all put up with that. It's just such a wonderful spectacle and a wonderful day and obviously Australia embraces it.
"To see the amount of people where I was this morning and other huge crowds all around Australia at dawn services was wonderful."
In the lead-up to Anzac Round the NRL announced a four-year partnership with the Australian War Memorial, Bennett revealing what effect the emotion of the day had on him personally.
"In my own way I kind of had a very emotional day," he said. "At times I had goose bumps and other times I had tears and it's a great day for Australia and a wonderful day to be an Australian. Very proud of us.
"I think it's a wonderful occasion and for the game to have more than just one [game]... I was a part of the Dragons-Roosters game and when I left there I envied that I couldn't be part of that.
"Brisbane's a huge market and I know the fans will all come back again next year. It was a great occasion and the game needs some recognition and credit for that."