Wayne Bennett's partner has lashed out at one of his critics after the NRL coach was found guilty of breaching the league's strict biosecurity rules.
South Sydney mentor Bennett was fined $20,000 and has been forced out of the coaches box for two weeks after he went to a restaurant for lunch in Sydney's inner west with partner Dale Cage.
The 70-year-old defended himself, saying he didn't know going to lunch with his better half was a breach of restrictions — even though he was part of the NRL's Project Apollo committee, which wrote the rules about what is and isn't allowed in the age of COVID-19.
Bennett claimed he was "self-isolating" with his partner in the restaurant by sitting away from other patrons but his excuses didn't go down well, with many commentators saying the supercoach should have known better.
Essentially, all Sydney teams are confined to their homes unless travelling to and from games and training. They are not permitted to eat out at cafes, restaurants or pubs.
Cage lashed out at Bennett's naysayers — or one in particular — with an Instagram post on the weekend.
"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones #just saying. The truth will hurt some people #staytuned #benikin," she wrote.
Ben Ikin hosts Fox League program NRL 360 and slammed Bennett for his breach during the week, saying: "I think it was so irresponsible, if anyone you think was going to set the right example for an entire code it would be the game's most experienced coach.
"Instead he turned up at a press conference today having been caught out … at one point he was confused, he was uncertain about the rules.
"I think he ended the press conference calling a journalist small minded.
"It felt a bit arrogant to me, he made the mistake and should have just fessed up and, you know, admitted almost to struggling living in the bubble and he broke out of it.
"Because there's no way known based on the phone calls I've made that there is not a single NRL employee, player, coach, whoever that is inside the bubble at the moment who does not know those rules."
Ikin wasn't the only outspoken critic of Bennett. Former Queensland State of Origin star Billy Moore also took aim.
"How is that possible? How can the most experienced coach in the competition not be aware of it?" Moore told Mark and Caroline on 92.7 Mix FM.
"Wayne Bennett went on the attack saying, 'I'm the victim here. The rules have changed, I didn't know the rules had changed'.
"I couldn't believe the arrogance that came through from Wayne Bennett ... almost like, 'The rules don't apply to me'.
"We saw the real character of Wayne Bennett, which is disappointing.
"What we saw, when attacked for doing something wrong, we saw the dark side of Wayne and I thought it was very poor."
Bennett missed the Rabbitohs' 28-10 win over his former side Brisbane on Friday night and he will also be absent when the Bunnies play North Queensland next weekend. His assistant Jason Demetriou is in charge in the interim.