IN this line of work, you get used to the brush-off.

Politicians. People outside court. Country women’s associations.

But you haven’t been given the slip until you’ve had it done by Wayne Bennett.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t going to be a rant. We weren’t victims.

This brush-off almost felt like an honour. A rite of passage, like a stinging dismissal by Nick Cave, or a telling-off by Deni Hines.

The coach had a good reason. He was at the University of Newcastle to talk to year 9 students, some with disabilities or from poor backgrounds, ahead of the summer schools program.

Media were invited via a press release.

A TV crew and print journos padded up shyly, including a stupidly grinning Topics.

We milled at the entrance of a lecture theatre, glimpsing the Knights’ mentor reclined in a plastic chair. He glanced at us and thinned league’s most respected lips in ‘‘that’d be right’’ wryness. We don’t know. He mustn’t have liked the look of the TV crew.

‘‘You need to take care of it,’’ the great man told a minder, before we were told it wouldn’t be happening.

You can sort of understand. He wanted to talk openly to the kids, and wasn’t doing it for the attention.

But we were invited. A uni spokeswoman apologised, and said the agency that booked Bennett had approved all the details of the ‘‘media event’’. Be nice if someone had checked with Coach.

We’re told his speech captivated the boys.