A rare glimpse into the mind of Wayne Ben­nett

Rugby League Week - - News - STEVE MASCORD

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.”

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