Wayne Bennett uninterested in "cheap talk" from critics

Wayne Bennett says that his players 'are his priority and always will be' as he hits back at those who accused him of showing disrespect to the media last weekend.

England head coach Wayne Bennett has hit back at recent suggestions that he is failing in his duty to promote the sport, claiming that he is "not interested in cheap talk".

The 66-year-old was criticised by former Great Britain international Iestyn Harris for offering short responses when questioned by the media after Saturday's 38-12 win over Scotland

Harris was unhappy with Bennett's "disgraceful" attitude, while former Super League winger Jon Wells also questioned the England boss's stance in his post-match duties.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's showdown with Australia, Bennett has responded to the accusations for the first time and insisted that he is simply focused on getting the best out of his players on the field - what he is paid to do.

"My players and my teams are my priority and always will be," BBC Sport quotes him as saying. "I'm not interested in cheap talk and thinking I can promote the game with something I say. The end result of what we all do is how the team performs on the football field. I'm a football coach, that's what I am.

"My job is to get the best out of those players and my job is to give you the best entertainment I possibly can. When that's in place, what you say away from the game is really immaterial. That's been my philosophy all my coaching life.

"I know the teams that I coach - if they play well and everybody enjoys the way they play, then we won't have a shortage of fans and people interested in what they're doing."

Bennett, appointed as England coach earlier this year, has previously taken charge of Australia across two separate stints.

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Sam Burgess looks on during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on August 18, 2015
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