The partner of Wayne Bennett has hit out at one high-profile critic after the South Sydney coach was stood down for two weeks for breaking the NRL’s quarantine bubble.
Bennett was spotted at an inner Sydney restaurant on a lunch date with partner Dale Cage on Thursday in direct breach of the NRL’s strict biosecurity rules.
‘BIGGER THAN FOOTY’: Seibold rocked by 'serious' family drama
The 70-year-old will now be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days and was hit with a $20,000 fine by the league.
Bennett claimed he didn’t realise he couldn’t dine out at a restaurant - a claim that was widely panned considering he’s on the Project Apollo committee that devised the league’s rules around coronavirus protocols.
And his partner has now had her say, taking aim at former Broncos player Ben Ikin on social media.
“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones #just saying,” Cage wrote on Instagram on Saturday.
“The truth will hurt some people #staytuned #benikin,” she wrote.
Ben Ikin blasts Wayne Bennett
Ikin was highly critical of Bennett’s breach, saying the mastercoach should have known better.
“I think it was so irresponsible, if anyone you think was going to set the right example for an entire code it would be the game’s most experienced coach,” Ikin said on NRL 360.
“Instead he turned up at a press conference today having been caught out … at one point he was confused, he was uncertain about the rules.
“I think he ended the press conference calling a journalist small minded.
“It felt a bit arrogant to me, he made the mistake and should have just fessed up and, you know, admitted almost to struggling living in the bubble and he broke out of it.
“Because there’s no way known based on the phone calls I’ve made that there is not a single NRL employee, player, coach, whoever that is inside the bubble at the moment who does not know those rules.”
But Ikin wasn’t alone, with Queensland Origin great Billy Moore also scathing in his reaction.
“How is that possible? How can the most experienced coach in the competition not be aware of it?” Moore told Mix FM radio.
“Wayne Bennett went on the attack saying, ‘I’m the victim here. The rules have changed, I didn’t know the rules had changed’.
“I couldn’t believe the arrogance that came through from Wayne Bennett ... almost like, ‘The rules don’t apply to me’.
“We saw the real character of Wayne Bennett, which is disappointing.
“What we saw, when attacked for doing something wrong, we saw the dark side of Wayne and I thought it was very poor.”
ARL boss sends warning to NRL clubs
Bennett will be excluded from Souths' bubble for a fortnight, meaning he won't return to training in person until two days before their round-15 clash with Manly.
“I just hope the game treats this as a wake-up call,” ARL boss Peter V'landys told AAP.
“They're not just jeopardising the game in the short term. They are jeopardising their own futures for the next two seasons and they're jeopardising future generations of the game of rugby league.
“Because if it shuts down and we can't operate, it will have dire effects for years. Not months, but years.
“Because if they don't (wake up to it), and we don't finish the season, their consequences will be catastrophic.”