Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Bennett 'surprised' by match-fixing claims

WAYNE Bennett admits he is having difficulties getting his head around the New South Wales Crime Commission's probe into alleged match-fixing, which is using special powers to force players to comply with its widespread investigations.

The investigation, centring around three NRL games involving Manly, South Sydney and Parramatta, has led to the formation of Strike Force Nuralda, which involved the interviewing of major bookmaking outlets and which reportedly used its broad-ranging powers to confiscate the mobile phone of one leading player this week.

The records of several major betting agencies have been the target of investigators trying to establish a money trail through suspicious betting activity on those three NRL games.

"I don't know the scale, I just saw it today, so I don't know all the details about it,” said Bennett, clearly shocked by some of the detail emerging.

"Yeah, I really am surprised by the match-fixing, I really am. I can't my head around it, to be honest with you.

"I've been in the game a long time and I have never been a part of it, I've never seen it as a coach, it's just weird to me.

"To see the people involved or the suggested people and the names of those people, I just can't get my head around it.”

Bennett did acknowledge it was easier than ever to manipulate scenarios with so many options and exotic bets available to punters these days.

"When I was growing up it was either win or lose, if you had a bet that's what it came down to,” said Bennett, who has coached for more than 40 years and has won seven premierships with two different clubs.

"Today you've got margins and who might score first and who might do something else first.

"It's very open to manipulation.

"That's the challenge for the coach, you only need one or two lone wolves to do a few things that you don't really notice because all the different multiples they can bet on.”