Bennett warns of Origin role
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has warned any NRL club which hands over its coach to the Queensland Origin side to be prepared to "pay a huge cost".
"It can be done, but it will come at a huge cost," said Bennett, who revealed he had spoken about releasing Kevin Walters as his assistance coach if he got the job to allow him to devote himself to the role.
As the Queensland Rugby League sit by the telephone waiting to hear if North Queensland's premiership-winning coach Paul Green is available to replace the outgoing Mal Meninga, Bennett admitted he was feeling for Walters, who has been strangely overlooked.
Bennett coached Queensland in seven series - the last six when he was also coaching Brisbane.
But with the demands and pressures on club coaches changing considerably since Bennett was able to juggle both jobs, the master coach believes it's a big ask for any club to agree to their coach taking on the dual roles.
"With the exception of my first series in 1986 I was always a club coach so nobody knows the demands of the job on a coach better than I do," he said.
"It's doable but it's doable at a price."
Asked he if he thought Walters, who is still yet to coach a club in the NRL, was "ready" for Origin duty, Bennett replied: "Who's ready?"
"Was I ready at 37 years of age when I got the opportunity? I probably didn't think I was.
"But they come knocking on your door. Was Mal ready? I don't believe he was.
"My point is we've all been risks.
"Kevvie was being groomed for the job, it's why he spent the last few years in (Queensland) camps for he was to be the next Origin coach.
"Of course I am feeling for him."
Bennett and NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley revealed their squads for February's Indigenous All Star clash with a World All Stars line-up featuring players from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Pacific nations.
It will hail the return to rugby league of Englishman Sam Burgess, even though the 2015 England World Cup star still has no NRL club and is not even registered with the NRL yet.
Likewise James Roberts, who is clubless at the moment but linked with the Broncos next season, was named in Daley's Indigenous All Stars line-up which includes Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Greg Bird and Sam Thaiday.
Bennett, who said he was "elated" to see Burgess back playing rugby league, also scuttled the Roberts "talk".
"I keep reading about that," he said with a smirk.
Asked if Roberts would be wearing a Broncos jumper next season, the coach responded: "Not to my knowledge."