TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05: Taane Milne of Fiji looks to get past Christiaan Roets of Walesduring the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match between Fiji and Wales at 1300SMILES Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has questioned the NRL's decision to scrap the representative round from its calendar, claiming that the code is "pulling the rug from underneath" from those that represented their heritage over the weekend.

The NRL have already announced that this will be the last time the rep round makes an appearance on the game's calendar, with all three State of Origin games set to be played on a Wednesday from next year, and no mid-season weekend will be spent without club football.

While Wayne would've tuned in with an eager eye for unearthed talent to help fill the Dolphins' maiden roster, there's little doubt about Bennett's intentions for the code at international level.

The 72-year-old coaching veteran has been at the helm for a collective 33 games between his commitments with Australia, England Great Britain across his career, and was due to join the Tongan camp as an assistant before illness ruled him out.

This year's rep round acted as a comeback for international rugby league in a big way, marking the first time any Test teams have played in Australia or New Zealand since late 2019, months before the pandemic began.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: England coach Wayne Bennett talks to the media during a press conference following the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final between the Australian Kangaroos and England at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

While fans were excited at the prospect of seeing these nations clash, the games double as a warm-up for this year's Rugby League World Cup, which kicks off in England a few short weeks after the 2022 NRL Grand Final.

Bennett noted the investment from the fans in his plea to save the mid-season matches.

"It was sold out in New Zealand - a huge atmosphere - and it meant so much for those men to play for Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Cook Islands and Samoa" Bennett told the ABC.

He has pleaded with ARL commission chairman Peter V'Landys, who recently joined Mal Meninga, Brad Fittler and Billy Slater as a Kangaroos selector, to ensure the representative games aren't shunted to post-Grand Final each year.

"I think Peter V'landys has done a wonderful job with the game but they've got this one wrong," Bennett added.

"Ask all those men who played what's the purpose. If players didn't want this they wouldn't have turned up in the quality that they did. I can't get my heard around why (they are scrapping it)."

Bennett remains a chance of assisting Tongan coach Kristian Woolf at this year's World Cup, though he may well brush aside the trip to England in order to ensure the Dolphins begin their first pre-season in the NRL on the right foot.