The ongoing battle between Corey Oates and Wayne Bennett continues, as the veteran coach has once again closed the door on any chance of Oates moving to the back row.
The Maroons winger is itching to move into the forward pack, but Bennett won’t sacrifice any of the Broncos’ young, talented forwards in order to open up a spot for Oates.
While speaking to the media on Saturday, Bennett once again held firm on his position regarding Oates’ wishes.
“He might be pitching but I’m not listening,” Bennett said when asked about Oates’ plea to move into the back row during a press conference on Wednesday.
“He begs me each week to play on the wing. He loves the wing. He knows he can’t handle [second-row]. When he gets around you [media] guys he just goes all soft and watery and says he wants to play on the edge, but he is only kidding you.”
During the mid-week press conference, Oates said he would eventually wear down Bennett, but the Brisbane legend said he couldn’t see that happening.
“That won’t happen. I’m not moving him to the back row,” Bennett said.
“If he was an edge forward he wouldn’t be playing State of Origin. That’s a decision he has got to make.
“If he doesn’t want to play Origin anymore or have an opportunity to play for Australia he can devote his life to being an edge forward.”
Despite the duo at odds over Oates’ position in the side, Bennett wants to keep the winger at the club, and will be hoping to re-sign him in the coming months.
The talent of the Broncos’ current forward pack means it’s hard for Bennett to make moves, with the coach suggesting it’s the most promising group of young forwards he’s seen in his time at Red Hill.
“Probably not. Not at the Broncos,” Bennett said when asked if he can remember a better group.
“Payne Haas is not there at the moment with an injury. We’ve got a team for the present but we’ve also got a group of men here for the future and it is important for us to hold them with Sam [Thaiday] retiring. Matt Lodge is 23. Tevita [Pangai jnr] is 22 and Joe Ofahengaue is 22, so they will hopefully be part of the Broncos pack for a long time to come.
“Alex Glenn is at the other end of [his career] but Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire still have plenty of good football in them, and Macca [Andrew McCullough]. We are in a pretty good position.”