By GABRIEL LAHO
FORMER Lae Bombers and PNG Kumuls coach Bob Bennett has contributed so much and has made a big difference and, therefore is eligible to express his opinions on the state of Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League.
Dennis Miall, who was associated with the club, is now a skills developer and coach for school boys rugby league in Lae, said vital skills passed on to him by Bennett, had benefited many other rugby league players back in the 1990s.
Miall, who was part of the 1995 Lae Bombers premiership winning team, was lamenting the outburst by Sports Minister Philemon Embel against Bennett, where he labelled the former coach as a foreigner and questioned his credibility.
He said to former players and the countless people who had gained from Bennett’s valuable insights as coach, was “a slap in the face”.
“The minister spoke out in that manner because he doesn’t really know the contribution by Bennett,” Miall said.
Athough, he had not been awarded for his contribution at the highest level, Miall said Bennett had a big heart for rugby league in PNG.
It was evident in his time spent in the rugby league arenas after his term as the Kumul coach.
“This ‘foreigner’ the minister has spoken about is one of the very rare foreigners who can spent weekends at the local league venue just to watch the matches and give his support,” he said.
Miall questioned how much Embel contributed personally to the game’s development over the same period as Bennett, to see fit to make such degrading comments.
He warned that foreigners were also involved in the development of the code, especially with the nation’s bid to enter the professional National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia, and such comments were not helpful.