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Wayne Bennett will take a break from putting his Dolphins roster together to return to the international scene with Tonga ahead of this month’s Pacific Test against New Zealand.
Tonga will take on New Zealand in Auckland on June 25 and Bennett will be involved. The super coach will assist stand-in coach Dean Young in the absence of Kristian Woolf.
Woolf will remain in Super League with St Helens and he is delighted to have got Bennett on board to help out Young.
Bennett has coached Australia on two occasions, he also held an advisory role with New Zealand. The last time he coached on the international scene was with Great Britain.
He will now help out Young, who played under Bennett when the Dragons won the NRL premiership in 2010. Young has been assistant coach with Tonga and also North Queensland.
Sika Manu will also act as an assistant coach for the New Zealand Test.
Woolf believes the addition of Bennett will be a valuable experience for all involved. Tonga have been making great strides in international rugby league. And Woolf says the expertise of Bennett will help them even more.
Wayne Bennett brings vast experience
“No-one has had more success in coaching rugby league than Wayne Bennett, having him there will be a great experience for both the players and the staff,” Woolf told reporters.
“But we have been able to put together an amazing coaching staff with Dean, Wayne and Sika. Dean has been an assistant on the Tongan team previously and is one of the brightest young coaching prospects in the NRL.
“Sika was the captain of this team through a golden period and understands the passion of the Mate Ma’a Tonga.
“This is a strong coaching staff for what will ultimately be a new-look Tongan team missing some players from the English Super League, who will be playing an important international Test while competing for spots in the World Cup squad.”
Bennett has not coached since leaving South Sydney at the end of last season. He will lead the Dolphins in their inaugural 2023 NRL campaign. There is still work to to be done to fill the roster.
However he can leave that in the capable hands of the recruitment team while he is away with Tonga.
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