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NRL draft will never happen: Wayne Bennett

NZN 13/04/2017 Laine Clark

A call for the NRL to introduce an internal draft has been shot down by Wayne Bennett despite the Brisbane coach describing the current player market as chaotic.

Bennett admitted he was sick of the constant speculation about player movement driven by dozens of off contract stars.

However, he believed player managers had become too powerful to allow Penrith boss Phil Gould's suggestion of an NRL draft to happen.

He also cited the Federal Court's 1991 ruling that a draft was an unreasonable restraint of trade.

"That won't happen unfortunately. Players and player managers have too much power," Bennett said.

"We had our chance 20 years ago to grab it but it was taken to court and the draft was over.

"It exists in the AFL because of the co-operation between them and the players association and we don't have that."

Still, Bennett didn't believe the AFL had the perfect solution with their restricted and unrestricted free agency system.

"The AFL opened a Pandora's Box. They will start having a few problems with that," Bennett said.

"They are starting to get disgruntled down there, particularly fans who have a long history of loyalty with players.

"But players are starting to realise there is more money somewhere else."

Gould made the NRL draft call this week, claiming players and their managers were holding clubs to ransom by driving up asking prices.

Gould believed an internal draft would force players to reassess whether to leave their clubs and allow the competition's strugglers to be competitive in the player transfer market.

Asked if he was a draft fan, Bennett said: "I am not a fan of the chaos that is happening out there right now with the player movement.

"We are seven weeks into the season.

"If anyone is a fan of that (player speculation) then that would be disappointing.

"Every day headlines are not how we play our football but player movement from one club to another."

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