Bennett hits back at Makinson award criticism from Aussies

England head coach Wayne Bennett
England head coach Wayne Bennett
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England coach Wayne Bennett says ex-Australia internationals Brad Fittler and Greg Alexander “get paid to make silly statements” after they criticised Tommy Makinson’s Golden Boot award.

The 27-year-old St Helens and England winger was given the award after impressing on the international stage.

But New South Wales coach Fittler called the decision “ridiculous”.

“If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you shouldn’t talk about it, it’s very ill-informed,” Bennett added.

Makinson scored on his debut against New Zealand in June and added a hat-trick against the Kiwis as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

He beat Australia’s James Tedesco, New Zealand’s Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and England’s Elliott Whitehead to the award, which is handed out by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) for performances at international level.

“I thought it was ridiculous. It belittles the award,” Fittler previously said.

“I can’t believe the best player in the world is a person I’ve never seen play.”

But Bennett said that view was “only from people that are ignorant and haven’t watched the last three Test matches”.

“I’m not surprised, they get paid to make silly statements,” the Australian added.