LAST week’s visit of England and Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett certainly stirred up a a bit of a hornet’s nest.

It was the veteran coaching guru’s comments at the press conference at Saints suggesting players leaving Super League for the NRL inevitably up their game and therefore make themselves more visible for international selection that really threw the fat in the fire - even if some supporters felt he was simply stating the obvious.

When Super League CEO Robert Elstone stepped in to stick up for the integrity of the elite British club competition he was denounced as being petty - almost like he was upbraiding Father Christmas for kicking coal out of the fireplace.

But Elstone has a point.

There should be a universal acceptance in any sport that international competition is beneficial for the domestic game, after all it is guaranteed to get more coverage, on TV and in the newspapers.

It should bring everyone together – and recall a Leeds fan confessing undying love for Paul Sculthorpe after two-try role in test match win over the Kangaroos in Huddersfield in 2001.

A winning national team feeds back into the host competition - and we saw that with England’s success in the 2003 World Cup creating household names in the 15-man code and sparking life into the Premiership.

Read: Regan Grace interview>

But surely there is a danger in suggesting that the cream of the British crop should ply their trade 12,000 miles away - especially when that comes from the bloke picking the test team.

What if the trickle of players heading for better pay and to test themselves against the best becomes a deluge?

At Saints what would happen if Souths’ (Bennett’s team) target Luke Thompson left - but then was followed by Matty Lees, Morgan Knowles, Tommy Makinson, Big Al and Regan Grace?

What would happen to the comp over here if a tipping point was reached in which all the best players felt compelled to go over.

And what motivation would the Super League club backers like Eamonn McManus have in keeping tending the orchard, only to see the fruit taken just as it has ripened?

We can’t stop players leaving, but for the long term benefit of our game here let us not actively encourage their departures.