Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett says the Club owed it to injured back-rower Alex McKinnon to make their position clear on the NRL’s judiciary process.
Speaking in relation to the Club’s statement regarding the NRL's handling of Storm forward Jordan McLean's seven-match suspension, Bennett said the Club felt it was important to raise a number of issues.
“We made our points about what we believed the process should have been," Bennett said after training on Friday.
“We are entitled to an opinion.
“Look I’m not going to get into more time or less time.
“We made our position clear about it and we owed that to Alex and we felt that as a Club."
In the wake of McKinnon's spinal injury, Bennett believes there are several rules and issues that the NRL must address in a proactive manner.
"We’ll have to change the way we look at some of these things," he admits.
"There are a whole range of issues that need to be addressed there over time and process and getting more information, I think we’ll be able to make those decisions."
From gang tackles to injuries being considered in the judicial process, Bennett insists it's time for everyone in rugby league to come together and discuss the rules for the betterment of the sport and ensure player welfare is the highest priority.
"What I’m in favour of is getting rid of situations where players can get severely injured," he says.
"That’s what I’m in favour of.
"I’m not apportioning the blame... I don’t have an answer right now.
"I’m just telling you there is things we will need to do and address, and in time I’m sure I’ve got enough confidence in the NRL that will be done."
Bennett was particularly vocal about injuries being factored into the judicial process and subsequent punishment for players, imploring the game as a whole to come together and discuss the ramifications of the ruling.
"It’s a debatable issue again," he says.
"I just think we had an incident last year where Kade Snowden got a pretty heavy penalty because the player got a serious injury.
"Maybe it’s been the smoking gun out there that no one really talks about, but it needs to be talked about now and we need to make a decision as a sport just how much does injury influence judiciary decisions in regards to penalties.
"It has never really been had and I think it’s been all indoors and behind smoke screens.
"But now it’s out there and I think it’s time for us to have a debate about it and recognise is that what we want or don’t want.
"Either way, I’ve got a point of view on it that I’m not going to express now.
"But we need to talk about it more than what we have in the past.
"Of course it’s a grey area, because it’s not defined anywhere so it’s part of the inconsistencies."
Bennett visited McKinnon in hospital in Melbourne earlier this week and said he was going well considering the tough circumstances.
"He was in pretty fair spirits and I was pleased to see him and I’m sure he was pleased to see me," he says.
Asked if Alex knew about the efforts of the Club and the community in rallying around him, Bennett said the back-rower was aware and highly appreciative.
"He did," he grins.
"Well he was very overwhelmed by the response by everybody.
"He couldn’t believe that people would do that for him."