Wayne Bennett feud with Ricky Stuart; Raiders vs Dolphins, Mitchell Moses

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Rugby league thrives on feuds. For all the great mateships forged through champion players and coaches winning premierships together, the game also revels in combat and conflict.

One of the toughest sports on the planet, the gladiatorial nature of the NRL and the strong personalities involved mean it can be equally robust off the field.

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Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett and Raiders coach Ricky Stuart have been two of the most influential figures in rugby league over the course of the past 35 years.

Completely contrasting personalities, they share one common bond – a love of winning and a tight-knit bond with their players.

It’s no secret Wayne and Ricky have had their dust ups over the years.

Given everything both men have achieved in the game there’s mutual respect – but coaching in the NRL is a tough business and this is no mutual admiration society.

Which makes the Super Saturday contest between the Dolphins and the Raiders all the more enthralling.

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Like all good rugby league feuds, there’s a degree of mystery surrounding where it exactly started.

Was it when Stuart took over coaching the Kangaroos in 2006 after Bennett lost the 2005 Tri Nations final 24-0 to New Zealand?

Or was it when Bennett did a handshake deal with Nick Politis to take over coaching the Sydney Roosters in the 2007 season when Stuart was still at the helm in 2006?

Stuart had won the 2002 premiership at the Roosters and taken the club to three straight grand finals but the secret Wayne deal meant he was forced to move on.

Is it because Bennett is one of the Godfather’s of Queensland Rugby League and Stuart is diametrically opposed as one of the all-time champion NSW halfbacks who bleeds Blue?

Or is there still bad blood from when Bennett as coach of the Broncos poached a young gun by the name of Anthony Milford from the Raiders to Brisbane despite Canberra offering a deal worth up to $900,000-a-season?

Whatever the reasoning, it’s complex, multi-layered and genuinely good for the game.

The polar opposite personalities of both coaches only adds to the narrative.

While Wayne sits in the coaches box doing his best impersonation of Clint Eastwood playing Texas Hold’em, Ricky will at times ride every play on the sideline.

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Bennett produced the best storyline of the opening round of the new season by making premiership heavyweights the Sydney Roosters look like headless chooks last Sunday.

But don’t underestimate what the Raiders did against North Queensland in Townsville after trailing 18-0.

To go down by a Chad Townsend field goal without Josh Papali’i and Xavier Savage against a team touted as possible premiers showed the Green Machine will still have a steely edge this season.

Both masters of psychology, Bennett and Stuart have decades of experience at how…

Read More: Wayne Bennett feud with Ricky Stuart; Raiders vs Dolphins, Mitchell Moses 2023-03-09 03:42:18

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