Wayne Bennett says he hasn't thought about staying on as England coach after Saturday night's Rugby League World Cup final against Australia.
Wayne Bennett says he hasn't thought about staying on as England coach after Saturday night's Rugby League World Cup final against Australia. DAVID CROSLING

England players urge Bennett to stay on

WIN or lose in tomorrow night's Rugby League World Cup final, England players want Wayne Bennett to stay on as coach.

Buoyed by the team's improvement under the wily Bennett, star fullback Gareth Widdop is urging the vereran coach to sign up again after two-year contract expires after the tournament.

"He's a great coach,” Widdop said yesterday.

"He's been around the game a long time. He knows how to get the best out of players and we've certainly improved as a team.

"He's taken us to a World Cup final, it's been 22 years (since England's last appearance in a World Cup final - a 16-8 loss to Australia in 1995).

"He's obviously doing something right. I'm sure there'll be some decisions after the game.”

Halfback Luke Gale was equally effusive in his praise of Bennett.

"I love him. I think he's a great bloke. The lads love his company,” Gale said.

"He does the camp really well. I think we've been seven, eight weeks now. He's obviously been involved in a lot of camps, be it Origin, New Zealand. He just gets it. He does it really well.

"He gets you nice and relaxed, gets you happy. I couldn't speak highly enough about him. We'll get Saturday out of the way and hopefully he keeps on.” Bennett recalled how his primary objective when he took over last year was to make England competitive again, but was predictably coy when asked about his international future.

"I wanted England to be hopefully more competitive, I wanted them to be where we are today I suppose,” he said.

"That's what I thought, that it would add a great deal of interest to it all if we could get England back to that place where they should be and hopefully they can stay there.

"I haven't thought (about the future). I just want to get to Saturday night. We've a big game coming up on Saturday and that's my priority. I'll worry about it afterwards.”



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