Hypocritical players need to be careful: Bennett
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has warned players to be careful not to bite the hands that feed them following concerns raised by Storm skipper Cameron Smith and coach Craig Bellamy following their win on Thursday night.
Despite playing the Knights, Cowboys and Broncos in the space of 10 days, the Storm held off a late Broncos fightback to move into fourth spot on the competition table with a 15-8 win with the Sharks the only team capable of denying them two bites of the cherry in finals time.
Smith suggested the Rugby League Players Association would lobby the NRL before the end of the season to abolish five-day turnarounds for the 2016 season and beyond but Bennett said there would be repercussions for such a demand.
With Channel Nine recently agreeing to a five-year, $925 million-dollar deal to broadcast four NRL games per week from 2018, Bennett warned that the players must be prepared to take a pay cut if they continue to make demands on the broadcasters.
"It's difficult because on one hand everybody wants so much money and on the other hand we want all these rights," Bennett said.
"Why do we want so much money for our game? Because so many people watch it. If they stop watching it we're not going to get the product.
"What I'm saying is if you can't have a five-day turnaround then you're not going to get the best games on television at prime time – that's your challenge and the issue.
"If we've got the bottom half of the draw playing on a Thursday or Friday night then the viewers aren't watching it, then when we go to the [television] rights no one is going to sell them and we're not going to get the income.
"It's a balancing act but there's much more demands coming in now from the players and they are getting more money than they've ever got so we have to be careful with it."
Although he conceded that sometimes the decision is taken out of the hands of players, Bennett said their willingness to back up after an Origin game was proof that the players can handle the demands when it suits them.
"Players are being a bit hypocritical too because we're going through Origin and going back in two days, [they're] the toughest games we play and they back-up within two days," said Bennett.
"So if they want to be fair dinkum across the board they make changes there as well but that's not going to happen.
"I hate double standards and that's what we are talking about here."