Bennett: ‘Their best. That’s what I’m asking them for’

Published 1:34pm 11 August 2023

Bennett: ‘Their best. That’s what I’m asking them for’
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins NRL Head Coach Wayne Bennett says he will be looking for his team to ‘do their best’ against the Roosters when the two sides meet in Sydney on Saturday night.

He concedes the energy and hype that drove their historic first round victory against the Roosters (28-18) has dropped but they’re looking to finish the season with ‘credibility’.

“I don’t think we’ve grown since round one to be honest with you. I think we’ve gone backwards, if you look at all our stats in the first month and since then, but that’s part of the season,” Bennett said at training today.

See the photo gallery at the end of this story

“That was part of the hype, that was part of everything that was trying to happen to us. I don’t think we’ve improved throughout the season,” he said.

So, what is he expecting of his side this weekend.

“Just their best. That’s what I’m asking them for,” he said.

The focus for the team in the last month of the regular season will be to continue to embrace the ethos that has become part of their DNA.

“Not to quit. We’ve been pretty good at that. We’ve been highly competitive all year with exception of a couple of games. So, I just don’t want that to happen to us. That’s what I’ve been driving all year, just do your best,” Bennett said.

|“We’re a young team and we just have to build a base on effort … the rest we can work out. If you haven’t got the effort, you can have all the skills in the world but you’re not going to win.|

“I just want them to keep putting the effort in and see how it goes.

“We’re a team that’s developing … we’re very young and we’ll be better next year I hope … I don’t hope, I know. We’ve just got to get through the next month and finish it with credibility and keep doing our best which we’ve been doing virtually all season.

“If you’re a rugby league fan and you want to watch the Dolphins, they keep you there for 80 minutes because they don’t give up and they keep coming and they keep giving themselves chances to win games.”

He said that focus on effort was central to the team as it builds in its first season and beyond.

And he’s not surprised intensity has dropped off since round one.

“I expected it to happen. I didn’t think we’d be able to hold that standard that we set in the first month together for the six months,” he said.

“The NRL’s a grind. You get to that stage in the season, you’re a bit tired … it’s on every week, pressure is there every week.”

Bennett said he had lived it so long he knew how to handle it but many in his squad were still learning as they play more NRL games.

In his assessment, the Roosters have had a similar season to the Dolphins and key to beating them on Saturday night will be to ‘not beat ourselves’.

“That’s our biggest enemy,” he said.

The round 24 clash kicks off at 7.35 on Saturday. It will be broadcast on Channel 9, Kayo and Foxtel.

See the photos from training (click through)

Photos by Dominika Lis

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