Wayne Bennett has criticised Cameron Munster’s handling of the contract saga which saw the superstar opt to stay with Melbourne Storm instead of joining new franchise the Dolphins.
After months of speculation, Munster chose to sign four-year contract extension with the Storm, rejecting an offer from Bennett’s Dolphins of $1.4 million over four seasons, a deal which would have made him the game’s highest-paid player ahead of Nathan Cleary.
But after Munster gave up around $300,000 to re-commit to Melbourne – or $1.2 million over the four years – Bennett was critical of the Queensland star’s ‘ordinary’ behaviour which saw him fail to reach out about his decision.
“I knew the phone call (from Munster) wouldn’t happen,” Bennett told Triple M in Brisbane.
“It’s pretty ordinary stuff.
“I understand there are managers these days and there is a need for them, but what I struggle with, is all the tough conversations are missing.
“They (NRL players) don’t ring you up and say they aren’t coming.
“If you want to be a man, you have to behave like one and tell someone you aren’t coming.
“They miss out on a very important learning phase of their life … how do you say no to someone – not having someone carry a message for you.
“I remember when I was young I would get my mum to ask my friend to go to a game of football because I didn’t have the courage to ask. I hated myself for it and I taught myself not to ask my mum to do it, because I wanted to go and it’s up to me.
“These guys have tough calls to make, but that’s the price you have to pay so you can grow into the man you can be proud of.”
Munster’s rejection leaves the Dolphins short of a superstar for their inaugural season in 2024 after also missing out on the likes of Harry Grant, Kalyn Ponga and Reece Walsh.
Bennett refused to be downcast by Munster’s decision, insisting it was one he saw coming after the player’s behaviour.
“I’m OK, I never had any great confidence in the end of getting Cameron,” Bennett said.
“I’m not disappointed. Initially I thought Cameron would come but as time went on I knew.
“I never felt we had him.
“I have changed clubs myself and Cameron never gave me an indication he was coming to the Dolphins.
“He wasn’t coming for next season anyway, so we will have a lot of money in the salary cap and we won’t spend it until we get that quality player.
“The opportunity is gone so I will look somewhere else.”