Even Roosters believe Bennett to Bunnies is a positive

Scott Bailey and Joel Gould |

Adam Reynolds (left) believes veteran super-coach Wayne Bennett must remain in the NRL.
Adam Reynolds (left) believes veteran super-coach Wayne Bennett must remain in the NRL.

Trent Robinson admits it would be good for rugby league if Wayne Bennett returns to South Sydney, echoing claims from Adam Reynolds that the game needs the veteran to keep coaching.

Bennett appears increasingly likely to be the Rabbitohs’ next coach, with the 74-year-old remaining Souths’ top option to replace the axed Jason Demetriou.

Off contract at the Dolphins after this year, Bennett has confirmed he will speak with Souths about a fairytale return for 2025 and beyond.

And the feeling within NRL circles on Thursday remained that Bennett would take up an offer, with even the Rabbitohs’ arch-rivals at the Sydney Roosters seeing the positive.

“It sounds like it’s already been done, doesn’t it? If Wayne says it’s done, it’s done,” Roosters mentor Robinson said on Thursday. 

“I think they’ve rolled out the red carpet and said ‘please say yes’. If that’s the case, then if Wayne wants it, (it’s done). 

“It’s always good for the game to have Wayne coaching. The legend that he is. 

“It was a great rivalry a few years ago. He’s the best coach that’s ever been. So it’s a pretty clear choice of his if he wants it.”

Robinson’s comments came after Bennett’s old Rabbitohs general in Reynolds insisted his former coach still had plenty to offer beyond his mid-70s.

Reynolds and Bennett had a fruitful three-year liaison at the Rabbitohs as player-coach, where the side made two preliminary finals and the 2021 grand final.

Now at the Broncos, the 33-year-old captain said he was not surprised Bennett wanted to coach on and felt it would be the game’s loss if he didn’t.

“I would love to see Wayne keep coaching for however long. He is one of the icons of this game and to lose him would be devastating for the game,” Reynolds said hours before Demetriou was sacked this week.

“I’d love to see him involved in some way whether it be coaching or in the background somewhere. He is certainly too valuable to be lost to this game.”

Souths CEO Blake Solly this week described his side as a “unique playing group”, with Bennett having previously gotten the best out of Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Damien Cook. 

Reynolds believes there is a key reason why Bennett can connect with players of all statuses and personalities.

“With the respect that he has earnt, the players see that and give it back to him in advance,” Reynolds said.

“He demands that you be the best version of yourself as a person. And if you do that, it translates into being good on the field. It is a great way to look at it. 

“Wayne knows how to manage people. 

“He knows how to get the best out of his players and puts smart assistant coaches in to fill the void for maybe areas that he lacks. He doesn’t lack in too many.”

AAP