It seems like a bizarre snub by the Warriors, unwanted utility Nathan Fien had any amount of talent and even proved himself at International level. However, it hasn’t taken one of the games smartest brains long to snap up possibly the bargain buy of the year – Wayne Bennett stepping in to secure Fien for the next 3 years at St George Illawarra.
A versatile player with all the skills, Fien has recently been playing in the halves for the Warriors but will fill the hooking role for the Saints under the guidance of Bennett and it seems the former Warrior and Cowboy couldn’t be happier.
“I nearly went to the Broncos earlier in my career and now I’ve got an opportunity to go and play underneath (Bennett),” Fien said.
Fien played 91 games for the Cowboys before switching to the Warriors in 2005.
Bennett spent time with Fien at International level during his time with the Kiwi’s and while the skill of Fien was obvious, Bennett claimed the tenacity and drive of the player were key components of the decision to snap up the unwanted Warrior.
A busy player, Fien has the experience to add plenty of value to the Dragons and will replace Luke Priddis nicely when he retires at the seasons end. Priddis has been a good servant of the game, but has struggled for several years now and was lucky to secure a final swansong season under Bennett.
You have to admire what Bennett has done at St George Illawarra, it’s been talked about plenty and such is the ability of the coach that the legend is starting to grow so big it’s hard to know what to believe.
He snaps up Michael Weyman who was playing park football for most of 2008, Weyman comes on beautifully and goes on to represent NSW. Even Darius Boyd, some knew of his ability, but most felt it was due to being on the end of the Broncos backline. Bennett knew. Some Dragons faithful cried foul when Boyd was slotted in at fullback, but it only took a few weeks before his potential was realised.
Suddenly Justin Poore is playing out of his skin, the ability was always there – but Bennett has tapped into the drive, motivating these guys on a weekly basis. From the promotion of Wendell Sailor, sure big Dell may have lost a yard of pace, but his presence alone offers this side so much. Even the bench rotation has been flawless by Bennett, the injury prone Matt Head has been inched along nicely, ready to be injected when needed without being overcooked.
We even had a source the other week mention that Wayne Bennett could be on a paypacket of around $800,000. At first it sounds absurd, but realistically, this guy brings so much to a footy team there would be clubs that would pay it without hesitation.
Bennett has again made a smart move by securing Nathan Fien.
If the Dragons win the competition this year, Bennett will prove that his success in Brisbane wasn’t purely because of a large nursery of juniors and he will instantly become the undisputed, greatest coach in Rugby League history.