The NRL is investigating South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett over a potential breach of the league’s COVID-19 protocols with a visit to an Italian restaurant in Sydney.
- NRL players and coaches are not allowed to visit pubs, clubs, restaurants or cafes under the league’s biosecurity rules
- South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett confirmed he had lunch at an Italian restaurant, and that he may have done something similar “one or two other times”
- Bennett’s Rabbitohs are due to face his former side, the Brisbane Broncos, in Sydney on Friday night
Bennett told reporters on Thursday that he and his partner had lunch at Grappa restaurant in Leichhardt on Wednesday.
Under the rules, players and staff members of each club are not allowed to attend public places like pubs, clubs, restaurants or cafes.
Bennett took his Rabbitohs side for training before speaking to the media.
South are due to face Bennett’s former team the Brisbane Broncos at the Olympic stadium in Sydney on Friday night.
“I went for lunch yesterday at Grappa yesterday, I did,” Bennett told a press conference.
“If [I’d known] it was a breach I wouldn’t have done it. I didn’t think it was a breach. I went there with my partner who I live with.”
The Souths coach said he had not been contacted yet by the NRL Integrity Unit.
Asked about the potential that he might have to self-isolate and miss the game against the Broncos, Bennett said: “If that’s what happens, that’s their [the NRL’s] call.”
Bennett said it was hard to keep track of the rules surrounding COVID-19.
“The rules have changed that many times about what we can do and can’t do,” he said.
“We’re totally confused about what we can and can’t do.”
The coach acknowledged there “could have been one or two other times” when he went to restaurants since the start of the bubble.
Asked when was the last time he had been told about the NRL’s rules, Bennett recalled a conversation with players and coaches a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m confident I do know the rules, I just went out for lunch yesterday,” he said.
Pressed on his understanding of the protocols, Bennett replied: “I’m still allowed to eat, aren’t I?”