Wayne Bennet Dolphins signings, Ivan Cleary dig, Taylan May re-signs, Dolphins team 2023, Nathan Cleary, State of Origin teams

Wayne Bennett has applauded Ivan Cleary after the Panthers coach hit out at the Dolphins for trying to lure their young players to Redcliffe.

Last week, the NRL super coach tried to lure re-signed youngsters Taylan May, Sunia Turuva and Lindsay Smith, according to the Canberra Times, as well as already nabbing Isaiya Katoa and Robert Jennings.

The new franchise has also been linked with first-year stars Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o who are out of contract at the end of the 2023 season.

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“One thing is for sure, we’re going to keep bringing guys into our system, that’s our mandate,” Cleary told the Canberra Times.

“It’s been well documented that we have our challenges in terms of trying to keep this team together.

“To be able to keep these (young) guys when they definitely had the option to go somewhere else… that’s so good.

“Everyone is looking at our club now, especially with the arrival of the Dolphins. They treat our club like their backyard.”

Bennett was asked about Cleary’s comments on Wednesday and fired his own shots.

“We all have to remember that we get our players from somewhere, and why don’t you take them from the best clubs possible if you can? Bennett told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“There is a reason why they are the best clubs, because they have the best players.

“They won the Under-19s, they win that, they win everything. There are good kids there. And they need opportunities.

“And if he [Cleary] wins another premiership this year, he will find it even worse. Everybody wants more [money]no one comes to sign a contract and asks for less.

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Bennett then asked if his counterpart had expressed his displeasure with the Bulldogs over signing youngster Matt Burton and Panthers forward Viliame Kikau who signed a four-year deal worth $3.2 million .

“They took two of his best players away from him,” Bennett said.

“Did I hear a complaint over there? Does he play favorites, does he?

“There’s no one in the game who wouldn’t want those two on your side.

“The game decided a long time ago to have a salary cap so that each team would have the same amount of money to spend on players and distribute players more evenly across clubs.

“That’s what it’s about.”

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