WAYNE Bennett has hit back at critics of Brisbane's handling of the Corey Oates concussion saga after the Broncos winger was cleared for Friday night's grand-final qualifier against the Storm.
Oates took one final, successful step towards a swift recovery when he completed the captain's run at Red Hill on Thursday.
The Maroons winger suffered a sickening head knock in Brisbane's finals defeat of Penrith last Friday and was rated next to no hope of recovering in time to face minor premier Melbourne at AAMI Park.
But Oates has passed a series of cognitive tests and ran strongly at the final training session, giving Broncos medicos confidence to give him the green light to take on the Storm.
Many in the NRL fraternity are sceptical of Oates' ability to recover so quickly but Bennett slammed suggestions the Broncos were jeopardising the winger's welfare by clearing him for the Storm blockbuster.
"I can't understand it (the criticism)," Bennett said.
"The one thing in life is that they have never built a statue to critics. Critics are what they are. Fortunately I don't listen to them.
"No one is concerned more for Corey's welfare than this club. I'm not really interested in anybody's else opinion outside this club.
"There has never been any pressure on any player to play with me here.
"It was in the hands of the doctors, they made a decision (that Oates is fit) and Corey wants to play, so that's how it is.