Brown’s NRL woes are strategy: Bennett

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has accused his Newcastle counterpart Nathan Brown of making allegations over other NRL’s clubs’ manipulation of the concussion rule to cover up his own strategic shortcomings.

Brown says rorting of the NRL’s concussion policy across the game is rife as coaches seek an unfair advantage in exploiting the rule.

Brisbane thumped Newcastle 53-0 last weekend in a match in which the Knights lost a number of players to the concussion rule.

However, Bennett said coaches could not blame the rules when they lost.

“I know there are a couple of clubs under investigation at the moment. I think it is a great rule and I respect it,” Bennett said on Thursday.

“But Nathan found himself under the pump by having four hit-up forwards sitting there (on the bench). If you lose a back and you’ve got four hit-up forwards, it is not going to work for you. That’s the risk you take. If you take that risk and you have a bad night, you can’t blame the rules for that.”

Souths mentor Michael Maguire said he didn’t believe there was a widespread flouting of the rules among the coaching fraternity.

“No, I haven’t seen that,” Maguire said.

When pressed further on whether Brown might be misinterpreting things, Maguire said: “that is his opinion”.

However, Melbourne, Queensland and Australian skipper Cameron Smith said he was concerned some sides could be taking advantage of the concussion rule.

“It does seem that there is an increase of players getting taken off the field with concussion or a trainer saying that there is concussion now and they are finding themselves coming back on the field within the 15 minute time frame,” Smith said.

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