Kangaroos taunt Bennett
London: Australian players have joined Mal Meninga in taunting Wayne Bennett, whose Brisbane star Sam Thaiday wondered aloud after the Four Nations opener if the England coach would “sneak out the back door” should he lose the series. Speaking after they opened the tournament with a 54-12 win over Scotland at Hull’s Craven Park, halfback Cooper Cronk also made a veiled reference to Bennett only taking the England post to prove he should not have been overlooked in favour of Meninga by Australia. The apparent enmity between Bennett and the superstar he discovered in a police academy four decades ago gathered steam on Saturday when Meninga wrote in a newspaper column the pair were not friends and that the Broncos coach was trying to undermine him. “Hopefully we can send Wayne back to Brisbane with his tail between his legs – he might sneak out the back door again, who know?” Thaiday said after Australia’s 10-try romp.
After being in control of the first Australian side to lose a series to anyone in 28 years at the 2005 Tri-Nations, Bennett took a back door exit from immigration upon his arrival back in Brisbane, later saying he regretted his decision. Asked about Meninga’s attacks on Bennett since the teams arrived in Britain – the Australian coach said “he wants my job” at Manchester Airport - Melbourne’s Cronk commented: “You know and I know there’s obviously something there. Thaiday denied being a Brisbane player placed him in an awkward position becoming involved in what is becoming a very public spat between two of Queensland rugby league’s most revered figures. “Wayne knows me – I’ve been giving him stick for many, many years now,” Thaiday said.
At 20-0 after 15 minutes, reporters were scouring the record books for the World Cup holders’ biggest-ever wins but Scotland steadied the ship enough to prevent a cricket score. AUSTRALIA 54 (Cooper Cronk 2, Josh Mansour 2, Blake Ferguson, James Maloney, Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizell, Michael Morgan, Jake Trbojevic tries; James Maloney 7 goals) beat SCOTLAND 12 (Ryan Brierley, Ben Kavanagh tries; Danny Brough 2 goals) at Craven Park. Referee: Ben Thaler (England). Crowd: 5,337. - Sun Herald