Wayne Bennett has hit out at the NRL after they failed to allow Canberra Raiders special dispensation on their salary cap following Josh Hodgson’s ACL injury.

The 28-year-old has been ruled out for up to nine months with the knee injury which he suffered in England’s World Cup semi-final victory against Tonga.

Bennett says that Hodgson’s club side should not have to count his earnings on their salary cap while he is sidelined because he picked up the injury on international duty.

Hodgson is not only one of the Raiders' best players, but also one of their highest earners and his wage will be counted in their $9.4 million salary cap for 2018 despite him sitting out most of the season.

The news has been made even worse for Canberra with the recent retirement of Adam Clydsdale and the imminent release of Kurt Baptiste (in order to comply with the salary cap) leaving them with only one fit hooker for the year.

It is believed that Ricky Stuart saw Wigan ace Michael McIlorum as a possible replacement for Hodgson, but this seems unlikely now after the NRL rejected the bid for salary cap dispensation.

Despite coaching Canberra’s NRL rivals Brisbane, Bennett today told the media that Australia’s governing body don’t show their clubs and its players enough respect.

“It’s very disappointing because we make a lot of contributions and sacrifices to make the game the spectacle it is and clearly they don’t care," he said.

“This is not a salary cap issue, they are not asking for an extra $100,000. They are asking to spend a bit more money because one of their best players is out for most of the season after picking up an injury which was out of the club’s control.”

NRL club's losing out?

With NRL wages now at an all-time high, there is more pressure on club’s to succeed and they are growing frustrated at the risks of sending their players on representative duty.

This was felt none more so than the North Queensland Cowboys last season when their superstar captain Johnathan Thurston suffered a season-ending injury playing for the Kangaroos.

Unhappy with the injury to Hodgson, Canberra have questioned why the Hull-born star was left on the field for eight minutes after taking a knock to his knee and despite sympathising with the Raiders, Bennett says the decision to stay on was made by the player.

“I can understand their gripe but they can’t be disappointed with us or our medical staff because Josh made the decision to play on," Bennett explained.

“We certainly didn’t put pressure on him to stay on the pitch, we had a ready-made replacement on the bench so it wasn’t like we desperately had to leave him out there.

“Josh was in control and I think we all thought he had run it off after six or seven minutes but then unfortunately his leg got caught underneath him and changed direction.

“It then became evident that this was serious and his game was over. Our medical staff made a judgement at the time and in the heat of the moment.

“Sometimes these go for you and the player is able to carry on but other times it doesn’t go as planned and unfortunately Josh has been really unlucky.”