Wayne Bennett has accused the NRL of leaking sensitive information and is demanding answers after sensationally claiming there is no confidentiality at head office.
Bennett’s fury came after he approached NRL officials last month with complaints over Penrith’s kick blockers, arguing they were moving illegally to protect Nathan Cleary.
Details of South Sydney’s claims have since emerged ahead of Saturday’s qualifying final, along with pleas from Penrith for referees to stop illegal contact on their kicker.
Bennett insisted he had not spoken to anyone else about the complaint, concluding it could only have come out of NRL HQ.
“We go to the NRL and I do it in privacy and I do it without talking to any media outlets or whatever and all of a sudden you’re getting a fair bit of information about it,” Bennett said.
“That’s what disturbs me most about all this stuff. We’ve got no confidentiality in our game whatsoever.
“I think it’s pretty poor … The NRL should have something to answer for.
“I’m sure that they’ve leaked. I’ve got no doubt at all.”
But the NRL was confident on Friday there had been no leak.
Bennett’s stance came in a fiery 11-minute press conference where he lit the fuse for a dramatic final by criticising Penrith’s block-play tactics.
He also shot down claims his team had deliberately tried to rough up the Panthers in clashes this year, giving away 23 penalties in those two games compared to 64 for the entire rest of the season.
Instead he again hinted his frustration at the NRL referees, all but suggesting they had not refereed the two teams equally with an 11-2 penalty count against his side three weeks ago.
“If you went through the video, then you’ll see they did similar type things, that they don’t get penalised for,” Bennett said.
“With head highs, in terms of lost balls on the ground, the ref didn’t do anything about it, that’s fine, that’s his prerogative.
“The ref is out there to referee both teams, he’s not there to ref for one team.
“So if we’re doing things that aren’t within the rule book then I expect to be penalised.
“But if they’re doing the similar type things and I expect them to be penalised as well.”