NRL’s Bennett fears ‘lone wolf’ fixing

Supercoach Wayne Bennett fears the NRL is vulnerable to spot fixing by “lone wolf” players.

Bennett believes the wide array of betting markets now available on every NRL match would make it possible for players to manipulate small factors of a match without their coach or teammates being aware.

“It’s probably more open to manipulation than it’s ever been because you’ve got so many options to bet these days,” Brisbane coach Bennett said.

“That’s your challenge as a coach and as a club.

“You can have maybe one or two lone wolves in your joint that just do things.

“You don’t really notice but because of the multiples that they can bet on then that gives them that opportunity.”

The seven-time premiership-winning coach admitted he was surprised on Wednesday when NSW Police launched their strike force which is expected to interview dozens of players, officials and others over allegations of match fixing in NRL games.

Three Manly games are believed to be at the centre of the investigations, including losses to Parramatta and South Sydney last year, as well as one against the Eels in 2016.

But Bennett said the idea of fixing matches was foreign to him.

“I can’t imagine one of my players throwing a game or wanting to be involved in that,” he said.

“That’s not part of our culture or part of our psyche at this club.

“I’ve been here for 24 years, 30 years in the NRL … I’ve been to two other clubs and I never saw it at those clubs either.”

Asked if the game should cut its ties with betting agencies, Bennett admitted he had been troubled by frequent in-play advertising of betting odds.

“I’ve seen they’ve cutback on the ads in game-time,” he said.

“I was certainly offended by that as a parent and as a grandparent.

“Outside of that, we live in a free country and we should be allowed to make our own choices.”

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