Wayne Bennett calls for patience on his coaching future

Joel Gould |

Wayne Bennett has shut down talk of a South Sydney return and asked for patience over his future.
Wayne Bennett has shut down talk of a South Sydney return and asked for patience over his future.

Wayne Bennett has called for patience regarding his coaching future beyond this year and shut down talk of a possible return to South Sydney.

Bennett, 74, is off-contract at the end of this season with the Dolphins and has stated his intention to coach on.

The Dolphins have a role for him if he elects to take time away from head coaching in 2025 but the seven-time premiership winner has shown no inclination to bring down the curtain on his illustrious career.

Bennett has been linked with a return to the Rabbitohs, where he coached for three years before handing over to his assistant Jason Demetriou.

Demetriou, on contract until the end of 2026, came under mounting pressure after the club lost their opening three games of the 2024 season, on the back of a fade-out in 2023 to miss the finals altogether.

Jason Demetriou.
Underfire coach Jason Demetriou looks relaxed prior to Souths’ clash with Canterbury. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“I don’t want to talk about South Sydney. I’ve left South Sydney. It has got nothing to do with me,” Bennett said on Friday before Souths beat Canterbury 20-16.

It was put to Bennett that he could return if the season went south for Demetriou this year.

“Why? They’ve got a coach,” Bennett said.

“It is one of those hypotheticals. Every time there is a coach in trouble somewhere I am taking the club over. I’ve been at three clubs already this year and this is only our third game.

“Why don’t you be patient and see where it all goes?”

Bennett conceded he was uncertain what was behind the Rabbitohs’ underwhelming start to the season.

“It is football. It happens. You don’t know why sometimes,” he said.

“I don’t know why we played badly at Suncorp three weeks ago (in a heavy loss to North Queensland). It is what it is. You’ve just got to manage it.”

Demetriou is highly regarded by Bennett and was part of his succession plan at Souths after the pair developed a close bond in tandem at Brisbane.

Some pundits believe a dream team of Bennett and Bunnies legend Sam Burgess could be the answer to their issues.

A scenario in which Burgess joined Bennett as his assistant before taking over as head coach is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Wayne Bennett and Sam Burgess.
Wayne Bennett and Sam Burgess during a training session whilst both at South Sydney. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Burgess is currently coach of Warrington in the English Super League. While Bennett on Friday did not wish to talk about a possible Burgess return to Redfern, he was effusive in his praise for the 2014 premiership winner when asked about him last year.

“I did want Sam here (at the Dolphins),” Bennett said.

“We would have been great for Sam, and Sam would have been great for us. Wiser people convinced him that wasn’t going to be good for him, so he didn’t come.

“He is a real man. He is someone who if you were in a tough place is the first bloke you’d want beside you.

“Sam will go over there (to Warrington), do two years at least and he will be an NRL coach. I have no doubt about that.”

AAP