NRL news 2023 Wayne Bennett

Injured Melbourne Storm prop Christian Welch has hit out at Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett for his criticisms of the way Cameron Munster handled his contract negotiations.

Despite having more than a year left on his contract, Munster was widely known to be in deep talks as a potential marquee signing with the Dolphins well before November 1, when NRL rules permit such discussions to take place.

Munster announced he had signed a four-year extension with the Storm in early October.

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Bennett slammed Munster’s decision to not call him to let him know he was staying with the Storm.

“That’s a tough phone call, it’s a phone call none of us want to make. But if you want to be a man, then you’ve got to behave like one,” he said on Triple M’s Rush Hour with Leisel Jones, Liam and Dobbo.

“It’s tough telling someone you’re not going to come … that’s the price you’ve got to pay so you can grow into being the man you can be proud of,” Bennett added.

In response to a Tweet that said calling Bennett would have been the “respectable” and “admirable” thing to do, Welch said the legendary coach showed little of either to the Storm or the game.

“If we’re talking about admirable and respect, the approach pre-November 1 didn’t show much of either,” he said.

“It’s a two way street … I’d say not a lot shown to Storm or NRL contracting rules to start.”

Munster knocked back what reportedly would have been the richest per season deal ever signed by an NRL player, with News Corp claiming the final offer from the Dolphins was $1.4 million-a-season over four years.

While the Dolphins had spent months attempting to woo the Queensland Origin hero back to his home state on the whopping $5.6 million deal, their inaugural head coach said that he’d feared the worst for some time. 

“It was just such a drawn-out, procrastinated situation,” Bennett told Triple M’s Rush Hour with Leisel Jones, Liam and Dobbo.

”I never had any confidence in the end. At the beginning I did, but at the end I didn’t have any confidence that he’d be coming.

“I don’t feel disappointed, I’d prepared myself for it. I just knew.” 

Bennett said the entire process involving communication between himself and Munster’s manager was “ordinary” and that he wished more players would communicate themselves when they’ve made a decision. 

“I understand about managers and all that – there is a need for them – but what I can’t get, and what I don’t relate to and I struggle with is the fact that the players, for all the tough conversations that have got to be had, are missing,” he said.

“They don’t ring you up and tell you they’re not coming. They don’t make that phone call.”

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