SUPER League CEO Robert Elstone has expressed concern at comments made by Great Britain and England Rugby League head coach Wayne Bennett at yesterday's press conference at Saints.

Bennett suggested Canberra prop Ryan Sutton, who signed from Wigan Warriors last year, had improved his chances of international selection because he was playing in the NRL.

Added to that Bennett explained that Leeds' departing centre Kallum Watkins "needed that level of competition every week (in the NRL) to find out how good he really is".

The comments come a day after Saints chairman Eamonn McManus expressed his concern at speculation linking prop Luke Thompson with a move to Bennett's South Sydney club.

Elstone felt that Bennett's comments contradicted the aims of Super League which is to attract and retain the best players in the Super League competition.

He said: “Securing and retaining the world’s best players is a priority for Super League.

“Quite rightly - and even more so now as we are nearing discussions around a new broadcast deal - it is seen by our clubs as fundamental to the future success of the competition.

READ: Saints respond to Luke Thompson speculation

“While several of our leading players have excelled in the NRL and, in all likelihood, more will want to test themselves in that environment, it does feel wrong that the coach of our national team is linking a move to the NRL so closely to the award of international honours.

"None of us should lose sight of the fact that it is the Super League competition that has developed these players, and that all aspects of the game on this side of the world will benefit by them staying.”