Bennett calls on NRL to end 'embarrassing' time wasting
Wayne Bennett believes the NRL should look at improving the competition by cutting out the "embarrassing" amount of time-wasting before worrying about potentially cutting the number of interchanges per game.
Bennett, who was once on the NRL competitions committee, said before the league looked at reducing the interchange from eight to six, "in the short term we've got to fix up the amount of time being wasted in the game".
"If we fix that up we may not need to go to six [interchanges]. There is that much time wasted at the moment it embarrasses me as a coach to see what is going on out there," said Bennett, who confirmed on Friday he would be switching Jack Bird to right centre, sending James Roberts to the left edge.
"You'd start with the amount of time captains are talking to referees. You could start with injuries at various stages where the game should be going on when it is not.
"You could cut down the scrum time where 30 second is too long ... the [time taken for the] drop-out is too long ... and guys getting sin-binned and walking off the field.
"Changeovers kill me. One of the things that makes great games of football is to have changeover of play really quickly so you put the opposition under some pressure."
Bennett said teams were using breaks in play to strategically get advantages that were detrimental to the flow of the game.
He said unless the game found ways to cut out time wasting now, reducing the interchange to six would only give teams under greater physical pressure more reason to waste time.
The Brisbane coach said Roberts would play at left centre against the Sea Eagles with Bird on the right, as reported on Wednesday by NRL.com.
Brisbane legend Steve Renouf outlined in his weekly NRL.com column earlier in the year the benefits such a switch to the left would make to the team.
Bird has played in the halves and at left centre for Brisbane this year but Bennett said the new move was the right one to get him back to his best.
"I just think Jack has obviously played all of his football on the right and we wanted to help him get back to his form," Bennett said.
"Part of the process is to let him play in a position he is comfortable and familiar.
"James said to me a couple of weeks ago that he was happy to play on the left if we needed him to. I reaffirmed that with him and he was happy to do that, so that gives us a strong left-hand side with [Anthony] Milford, Roberts, [Corey] Oates and [Darius] Boyd."
Bennett said speculation suggesting Bird was seeking a release to return to Sydney was wide of the mark and he was not concerned by the former Cronulla star taking time to settle in.
"Jack hasn't spoken to me about going home and Jack won't be going home. He can go home in his days off but he won't be going home any other time," he said.
"The Broncos is probably the toughest club in the NRL to come to with the pressure here, the profile here and the expectations. I can't think of a player that we brought here in my time that hasn't struggled in their first year.
"It is something I expected. He knows I've got confidence in him and he's wanted here at the club so he's just got to get over the little niggling injury he's got and he'll be fine."