Why Bennett's stayed quiet over Latrell ban

2 weeks ago 11
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Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has built his reputation on backing his players to the hilt, so the fact that he hasn't done any ranting or raving in defence of the under-fire Latrell Mitchell over the past four days has come as a surprise to some.

But rugby league guru Phil Gould has a theory for the South Sydney coach's measured response to the outcry that's followed Mitchell's high hit on Joseph Manu.

Only one of Bennett's comments has had bite and even that line, which came in his post-match press conference, didn't go any way to defending Mitchell's hit.

The super coach's comment was in reply to Roosters mentor Trent Robinson saying Mitchell must do away with his streak of brutality.

MORE: Phil Gould's bold take on real reason for Latrell Mitchell backlash, slams 'childish' accusations

"Well Trent's got a couple of those players himself he coaches," Bennett said.

"So I don't know why he's looking over the fence at us for.

"We'll look at our own situation and we'll address it if we have to."

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett. (NRL Imagery)

In addition to Bennett's tight-lipped reaction to Mitchell's high shot, the Rabbitohs opted against any challenge of the suspension.

The megastar fullback was offered a six-match ban and entered an early guilty plea.

Done deal.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Michael Chammas asked Gould about Bennett's response on Nine's 100% Footy, suggesting it implied the Rabbitohs mentor thought Mitchell's hit was intentional.

Gould was blunt.

"Because you can't defend it against the type of media we have today, Michael," he said.

"You cannot defend it against the type of media we have today. You will get hounded down. This is 15 clubs against one, this is people who don't even understand the game against one thing. You learn in football there are some fights you can win and some fights you can't. You can't win the fight to defend Latrell Mitchell.

"I will do it because I've got the courage and the conviction, but you can't win the fight against idiots in the media who want to glorify this or pump it up into something it shouldn't be."

South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell. (Getty)

Chammas then asked Gould about his claim that those who hadn't played the game would never understand tackles like Mitchell's.

MORE: 'We'll look after him': South Sydney stars come out in support of Latrell Mitchell

"That's taken out of context. What I said was if you haven't been in that position that Latrell Mitchell is in, coming across the field with Joseph Manu stepping and pulling out of tackles and what he'd done previously in the night, trying to stop the offloads, stopping (him) scoring a try, 'I've got to get to him quick', 'I've got to get to him before he passes it', 'I've got to deal with that' ... Unless you're actually in there you have no idea how these tackles go wrong so very, very quickly," Gould said.

"That's what I'm saying. I'm not saying you're not entitled to a comment, I'm not saying you're not entitled to an opinion. But whether I respect that decision as to someone who knows what went on in the minds of Latrell Mitchell and Joseph Manu, then I'm going to take my own opinion."

100% Footy host James Bracey then challenged Gould, pointing out the match review committee consists entirely of former NRL players.

It's chaired by Michael Robertson and rounded out by Michael Hodgson, Luke Patten and Anthony Quinn.

"Don't start me on that," Gould said as he shook his head.

Roosters centre Joey Manu following Latrell Mitchell's brutal hit last Friday night. (Getty)

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