NRL 12 months ago

Bennett: I'm not chasing Meninga's job

  • Bennett: I'm not chasing Meninga's job

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Wayne Bennett, the newly appoint England rugby league coach faces the media on February 18, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett insists he's not chasing Mal Meninga's Australia coaching role but refused to say whether or not he would like another crack at the job he sensationally quit after a troubled 2005 Four Nations campaign.

The Brisbane mentor accepted a two-year contract to coach England having lost out in December to Meninga, who claimed last week the seven-time premiership winner was after his job.

"I'm very happy with the English job right now," said Bennett, who infamously escaped via a back door at Brisbane airport after the Kangaroos lost the Four Nations final to New Zealand and resigned the next day.

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"I'm happy with the decision I made. I'm enjoying working with the team, they're a great group of blokes."

Meninga, who has enjoyed two wins out of two since replacing Tim Sheens, believes the appointment of Bennett will make England an even sterner proposition on home soil and benefit the game internationally.

"We want to see international rugby league back to where it used to be and having Wayne involved enhances that," Meninga told the pre-tournament press conference at Liverpool FC's Anfield stadium.

"He'll add to the Four Nations and the World Cup next year."

Meninga's side open their campaign against Scotland in Hull at 6am AEDT on Saturday and the former Queensland coach may make changes to the side that beat New Zealand in Perth 10 days ago.

However, he rebuffed claims he'll field a weaker side to face the tournament minnows.

"We've 24 very good players representing Australia," Meninga said.

"We'll be a strong side. We won't be taking anything for granted, we'll make sure our preparation is really good."

Skipper Cameron Smith says Meninga's calm approach is exactly what the squad need as they look to usurp New Zealand as the world's No.1 team.

"It reminds me a bit of when he came into the Queensland job," Smith told AAP.

"Obviously that was a bigger job than this as we had lost three in a row, but Mal is very calm and very good at making everyone feel relaxed.

"Sheensy was a lot more hands on, but Mal works in a different way and hopefully that will pay dividends over the next five weeks."

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