SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Wayne Bennett, coach of the Broncos looks on during the launch of NRL Nation at Darling Harbour on October 1, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Veteran coach Wayne Bennett has sounded off about players being denied the right to attend the World Cup in England later this year.

Bennett, 71, claimed that the NRL's decision to scupper player's attempts to attend the tournament following the ARLC and NZRL's joint call to opt out earlier this week was riddled with 'double standards'.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, the man who has held coaching posts for several nations across his span in the game explained that he would be happy for any player currently on his roster to attend the event.

“Of course I would. It’s the players’ rights, why wouldn’t I support it,” Bennett said.

“The NRL and NZ Rugby League have made a decision, that’s fine. But if a player wants to go and play for Samoa and Tonga I don’t see why he can’t be allowed to play.

“We have made so many exceptions and exemptions to keep our competition going here.

“If England and other nations want to keep the World Cup alive, then I don’t think it’s our prerogative to interfere.

“I would not prevent any player I’m coaching from going. If he wanted to go and it meant that much to him and the competition was on, I don’t feel I have that right personally.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: England Coach Wayne Bennett looks on during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between England and Papua New Guinea Kumuls at AAMI Park on November 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Bennett went on to claim that the NRL's view that players within their jurisdiction should remain at clubland instead of representing their country was unjust and riddled with inconsistencies.

“Who is going to deprive them? It’s not the right of the club,” he said.

“We don’t have an option when it comes to playing Origin or for Australia. If we refuse to play for Australia we get stood down. What’s going to happen for these players that want to play for their countries?

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“It’s a complete double standard. If a player wants to play and the club says he can’t but if a player doesn’t want to play and the game says you’ve got to play. There’s got to be a balance there.”

Although up in arms, the former Kangaroos coach conceded that it was the ARLC and NZRL's right to have arrived at their decision.

“Obviously England and other nations feel they committed to the World Cup and Australia and New Zealand feel they can’t make that commitment,” Bennett continued.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Wayne Bennett head coach of the Rabbitohs looks on prior to the round 12 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on May 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

“Well, that’s their prerogative but it’s also the prerogative of the other nations to continue with the World Cup.

“If they went of their choice and could take quality players with them it would only enhance their position."

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Despite this, Bennett also believed the showpiece event could continue even if the two international heavyweights had made the decision not to compete.

"Life will go on without Australia and New Zealand, we are just a part of it,” he claimed.

After English RFL Chairman Simon Jordan labelled his Australian and New Zealand counterparts as "selfish, parochial and cowardly" for refusing their World Cup invitations, Bennett expressed that he understood the Englishman's viewpoint.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Wayne Bennett, the newly appoint England rugby league coach faces the media on February 18, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

“There’s no doubt there’d be a lot of hurt,” he said.

“There’s no doubt at all. It’s in their country and they’ve done a lot of work towards it and all the work that has gone into it with government and local councils.

“They were pretty bullish about what they had done and thought it was a well worth exercise. They’d be bitterly disappointed, particularly with Australia not supporting it I’d say.”

The incumbent South Sydney head coach also stated that the international representatives currently under his stewardship at Redfern was also upset by the ruling.