Reports claiming England are interested in luring NRL stars have been dismissed as illogical by an unimpressed Wayne Bennett.
Former NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson told the Newcastle Herald that Bennett spoke to him about a switch while Brett and Josh Morris were also believed to be in his sights ahead of this year’s Four Nations in the UK.
Hodkinson’s father is English while the Morris twins would be eligible thanks to their grandfather.
But England coach Bennett pleaded ignorance about the reports.
“It’s media driven. I have no idea what is going on out there,” he said.
“It’s none of my doing.
“You guys are getting yourselves all excited – your blood pressure is up.”
Bennett said it didn’t make sense that the Morris twins would switch their allegiances.
“It is not even logical,” he said.
“They have both played for Australia, they are both Australian players if they are fit.
“Why would they want to go play for England?
“It’s just a cheap story, guys.”
Hodkinson told the Newcastle Herald that Bennett had spoken to him and seemed open to making the switch, saying he would “wait and see”.
Newcastle No.7 Hodkinson would potentially form a strong England halves combination with the Dragons’ Gareth Widdop.
However, the Morris brothers said Bennett had not been in contact with them about changing allegiances.
It was also news to senior England forward Sam Burgess.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it. I don’t pick the team – Wayne will make his decision so we’ll wait and see,” the South Sydney forward said.
“Wayne will bring what Wayne brings to most organisations he works with, a bit of experience.
“I’ll just wait until I get there before I start thinking about it.”
The Rugby League International Federation has subsequently tried to shut down a potential NRL switch, saying players can’t swap between Australia, New Zealand and England.
“Players from tier-one countries cannot move between each other,” RLIF official Tas Baitieri told News Corp.
“They can only move upwards or downwards (between tier-one and tier-two nations).”
However Baitieri’s comments do not align with the eligibility rules posted on the organisation’s website.
They state players can swap between nations once between World Cups or every two years, making no mention of tier-one or tier-two countries.