Jake Trueman backs Wayne Bennett to continue with England despite Great Britain snub
By PA Media
Last Updated: 09/01/20 11:12am
Jake Trueman holds no grudges against Wayne Bennett for failing to play him on the Great Britain tour and hopes he is reappointed as England coach.
The 20-year-old Castleford half-back went through the tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in the autumn without playing a match, despite being fit for all four.
Bennett had hinted all the fringe players sat on the sidelines for the three games in New Zealand would play in the tour finale against the Kumuls, but in the end kept faith with regular half-backs Gareth Widdop and Jackson Hastings, leaving Trueman to spectate once more.
"I could sort of see it coming," said Trueman. "I thought he would stick with the same team and see if they could put it right, but I was gutted not to play."
Leeds winger Ash Handley was also ignored for the game in Port Moresby, despite flying 10,000 miles to join up with the injury-hit squad, and Bennett came in for further criticism after the tourists returned home with four defeats from four matches.
Bennett, who turned 70 on New Year's Day, is now out of contract with the Rugby Football League and is awaiting the outcome of a review currently being conducted by chief executive Ralph Rimmer and rugby director Kevin Sinfield.
Bennett's future should be resolved in time for the next RFL board meeting on February 6 and Trueman believes he ought to remain in charge for the Ashes Series this year and the 2021 World Cup.
I was thinking he might be a little bit miserable but he was like one of the boys, he was class to be coached by.
Jake Trueman on Wayne Bennett
"I loved Wayne Bennett," said Trueman. "I learned a lot from him and he's a really good bloke as well.
"I could see where people were coming from looking from the outside in but he's a great coach and everyone really likes him.
"I'd definitely say he's misunderstood. I was thinking he might be a little bit miserable but he was like one of the boys, he was class to be coached by."
Trueman insists he benefited from being on tour and Castleford coach Daryl Powell agrees, although he insists his player ought to have been given his chance against Papua New Guinea.
"I didn't see any reason not to put him in there," said Powell. "Coaches get nervous when you're not winning games so I could sort of understand it.
"But I don't think they had anything to lose to be honest. I would have played him in that game.
"But he got something out of it. He came back with a bit more about him from a confidence perspective so he's learned some things out there."
Powell is hoping the signing of a new half-back partner, Danny Richardson, who has replaced Luke Gale, will help the 2018 Young Player of the Year kick on in 2020 and Trueman says the signs are promising.
"I only had a week off because Jamie Ellis was injured and we didn't have any other halves," he said.
"It was probably a good thing so me and Danny could try and build some structure together.
"It's looking pretty good in training. He's the sort of half that will suit me, he's dominant and controls the game, a bit like Galey.
"It's what we've missed over the last two years and that should free me up a bit to play my game."