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‘One week doesn’t hurt’: Bennett defends resting $5m worth of talent

Wayne Bennett has defended resting more than $5m worth of talent this weekend and said there was no need to follow the AFL model and introduce a bye round before the NRL finals.

South Sydney will give eight players the weekend off, including Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow. Parramatta did likewise with Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses, Dylan Brown and Nathan Brown, while Cameron Munster and Christian Welch are among the large list of representative players to be given a freshen-up by the Storm.

The TV networks and fans who make their way to the Queensland venues this weekend will be upset they do not get to see some of the game’s household names in action.

It raises the question of whether the NRL should follow the AFL, who introduced a bye round before the play-offs to stop finals-bound clubs resting players in large numbers.

The NRL have previously tried to address the matter by proposing a Wildcard Weekend, which would involve the seventh and eighth-placed teams playing against ninth and tenth, but more importantly gave the top-six clubs a week to recover.

Bennett was not a fan of a pre-finals bye and said clubs sitting high on the ladder deserved the right to let a few of their players put their feet up.

Wayne Bennett has defended resting more than $5m worth of talent in the final round.

Wayne Bennett has defended resting more than $5m worth of talent in the final round.Credit:NRL Photos

“I think a bye would only extend the season, and people just want to see football – nobody enjoys not watching football,” Bennett told the Herald.

“If you’re not in the position to do it you’re not in the position to do it, but if you are you can. Having a bye stops the season for a week, and people don’t want that.

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