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The truth about Bennett's involvement in four-year Darius deal

Wayne Bennett has been blamed for a lot of things throughout his career, many in relation to the state in which he has left his old clubs.

But you can’t blame him for this one.

Contrary to one narrative that has been told, the four-year deal the Broncos offered Darius Boyd to keep him at the club until the end of 2021 wasn’t a gesture of goodwill from Bennett.

Bennett had nothing to do with the deal.

At the start of 2017, Bennett sat down with Broncos chief executive Paul White, recruitment manager Peter Nolan and board member Darren Lockyer.

Boyd, who was coming off contract that year, was the topic of conversation.

It wasn’t a long meeting. There wasn’t much to debate, really. Because all parties agreed Boyd – then considered a top 10 player in the game - should finish his career as a Bronco.

White told those in the meeting that he would take the lead in negotiations with Boyd’s agent, George Mimis.

Bennett deliberately stayed out of the discussions about the length of the deal, how much money the club was willing to spend.

He simply told the club he wanted him around.

Sea Eagles v Broncos - Round 9

"Darius’s contracting at the time of negotiation was a matter between the CEO and myself," Mimis told NRL.com.

"Wayne’s involvement from my understanding was nothing more than to validate that he wanted to keep Darius at the club."

It took months for the deal to be reached. There were plenty of provisions and clauses in the contract that needed time to nut out.

While it was announced as a four-year deal, NRL.com understands there are conditions in the contract, including the fourth year of the deal being an option in Boyd’s favour.

However there are also believed to be some caveats underneath the terms.

Boyd is now in the second year of his four-year extension, however most clubs include certain provisions in the contracts in relation to ageing players to protect themselves in case of injury, form slumps and possible mental health issues.

There were also some discussions around life after football, and how Boyd could use his experiences to help the club in its programs with schools and the community, especially in relation to mental health.

In previous deals that Boyd had signed, he had a coaching clause put in that allowed him to leave if Bennett was no longer at the helm.

But this time around no such clauses were included. Bennett wasn't involved in discussions, and there was also a realisation from all involved that he should finish his career at the Broncos.

NRL players give locals a lesson

It’s why Boyd didn’t bat an eyelid when his career-long coach walked out the exit doors for South Sydney last year. The fullback was always staying.

In the pre-season he was running personal best times for sprints. His body was in the best condition it had been in years.

But his form during the opening two months of the season has left many wondering how many years he has left in him.

All those months spent working out clauses and provisions may prove beneficial for all involved in the coming months/years.

NRL Teams: 2019 season snapshot

Storm concerned for Curtis

Melbourne are very concerned about the welfare of Curtis Scott. He has been struggling to deal with a personal issue.

It’s affected his rugby league, which resulted in him being dropped a few weeks ago. However there are far greater concerns than his ability to play football at the moment.

The NRL and Storm have been in close dialogue about the matter, with both parties ensuring Scott’s well-being is a priority.

Help is available 24/7 for anyone who has mental health issues by calling Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

For further information on the NRL State of Mind program, click here

Interest lodged in Matt

A number of clubs have been made aware of interest from Matt Lodge to return to Sydney to be closer to family.

As it stands, Lodge will remain at the Broncos, but talk about a pre-June 30 departure from Red Hill still lingers.

It’s got nothing to do with any issues in relation to coach Anthony Seibold. The same can’t be said for James Roberts.

Wests Tigers v Panthers - Round 9

Lawrence blazing down comeback trail

Wests Tigers veteran Chris Lawrence continues his remarkable recovery from a horrific face injury suffered in the pre-season.

The former Australian centre is on track to return in round 13 against Canberra - weeks before his initial return date.

Lawrence required extensive and delicate surgery after suffering several facial fractures in the lead-up to a trial in New Zealand. The 30-year-old had to wait a week before flying back to Australia due to the extent of the injury.

Eel of approval from Hindmarsh

Parramatta legend Nathan Hindmarsh has heaped praise on the club for sticking to its guns in regards to contract negotiations with Clint Gutherson.

Hindmarsh played in an era where the club was accused of paying overs to many players under a previous administration, which impacted the club’s salary cap situation. However he believes the new regime has acted responsibly.

"I applaud the club for putting some things in place around contracts and sticking to their guns about that," Hindmarsh said.

Hindmarsh backs Eels over Gutherson negotiations

"Gutho is an exceptional player and is someone I want to see stay at the club, but I understand the Eels have put some certain protocols in place to determine whether it’s worth a three-year or a four-year deal or how much money. I can’t knock them for that."

Hindmarsh also believes coach Brad Arthur has done enough to earn a contract extension when the club sits down in June to decide his future.

"I like the way Brad operates. I would have liked to have played under him as a player. I don’t think it’s going to be much of an issue locking Brad in."

Blues on the move

The NSW Blues have been forced to tinker with a winning formula, and will move their camps to Bondi this year instead of Coogee.

The Blues will spend five days in Bondi for game one and three, opting to stay near the beaches despite the opening of their multimillion-dollar facility across the road from ANZ Stadium.

The Blues stayed in Coogee last year, however renovations at the Crowne Plaza will see the Blues head down the road to Bondi.

Beattie reaffirms ARLC stance on Folau

Panthers on the prowl over phones

The Penrith Panthers have moved to increase face-to-face communication and interaction among their players by banning the use of phones on bus trips.

The impact of screen time and its affect on people is slowly starting to be realised by coaches, who are now following in the footsteps of NSW coach Brad Fittler.

He introduced a phone ban in certain stages of his Origin camp’s last year, which was a refreshing change for the players.

Stone rocking up for Lebanon

Lebanon have appointed their coaching staff for the mid-season Test against Fiji. Former Newcastle coach Rick Stone will replace Brad Fittler, who took the Cedars to the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Cup. Former Dragons, Rabbitohs and Knights hooker George Ndaira will be his assistant.

Lebanon were considering boycotting the Test due to a stance against the governing body, however they have agreed to play the game.

Titans v Sharks - Round 9

Sharks shore up funds

The Sharks called a club-wide meeting on Monday afternoon to provide an update of the club’s development plans and the financial implications.

There has been a lot of talk about the Sharks’ financial position in recent months and club hierarchy have moved to try and allay concerns.

They met with the players and staff on Monday to provide an overview of what lies ahead in the coming couple of years, including plans for a high-performance centre.

Norman's reunion doesn't go to plan

Corey Norman didn’t have the afternoon he was hoping for against his former club last Sunday.

He was on the losing side and failed to finish the match after fracturing his cheekbone in the loss. But it didn’t stop him from catching up with his ex-teammates after the game.

He went out for dinner with a number of players, including Tim Mannah and Nathan Brown, at Mama & Papas restaurant on Church Street, Parramatta.

Magic Round hotspots around Brisbane

It's the restaurant many of the Eels players gather at during the week and was a favourite of Norman's during his time at the club.

The Eels will get the chance to taunt the Dragons even more this week, booked on the same flight to Brisbane for Magic round on Friday.

Hayne Plane sighted at Bankwest

Jarryd Hayne made his Bankwest Stadium debut last week. He was seated in the Eels’ friends and family section, watching his old club topple the team he had agreed to join before revelations of his sexual assault charge surfaced.

Fullback not Latrell's No.1 spot: Mini

The Sydney Roosters’ greatest fullback, Anthony Minichiello, believes Latrell Mitchell’s future lies in the centres, not in the halves or in the No.1 jersey.

There has been a lot of talk about Mitchell’s future and the potential of a defection to South Sydney or Parramatta.

Those clubs could use the opportunity of a fullback or five-eighth jersey to lure him away from Bondi, however Minichiello insists he’s a long term centre.

"I think he’s a long-term centre. He can play five-eighth, yeah. And we’ve seen that this year.

Minichiello: Latrell's best suited in the centres

"But I think him out in the centres giving him early ball, you can see how powerful and strong he is, I think that’s his position.

"He’s at a club that looks after him. He knows that. We set ourselves high standards at the Roosters and trying to challenge for a top four spot and premiership each year. That’s what the Roosters are about."

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.