A rare glimpse into the mind of Wayne Bennett
ENGLAND WINGER JERMAINE MCGILLVARY has revealed how Wayne Bennett pretended to not even know his name at the Four Nations – before delivering him the greatest pep talk of his life.
It’s the best insight in years into how the supercoach operates.
“He used to mess with me, he used to just kill me in front of the squad,” McGillvary, 28, tells RLW.
“He named the first squad . . . He said ‘so-and-so’s playing’ and he pointed at me and said he didn’t know my name and everyone just started laughing out loud . . .
“It got to the week after and he was picking the squad for the New Zealand game . . . he came to me and said ‘James, you’re playing’. Everyone just started hysterically laughing.”
But things changed when Bennett approached McGillvary on his own.
“We got down to the training field and he goes, ‘Hiya, Jermaine, how you doing?’. I went, ‘So you know my name!’ He said, ‘Yeah’. I said, ‘So why are you messing with me?’ He said ‘I do everything for a reason’ and he started laughing.
“He grabbed me at the end of training and he was telling me about myself, things I didn’t think he knew. He doesn’t know me personally but he was telling me what my characteristics were like, he was telling me what I was like as a player.
“He said ‘I want you to play with no fear. If you make a mistake, I’ll cop it. I want you to just go out there like you’re playing in a Super League game’.
“He said, ‘Just believe in yourself because I believe in you’. As soon as he said that, all last season went out of the window.”