Bennett insists he had no say in Souths’ Dodd signing

Joel Gould |

St Helens half Lewis Dodd is set to sign with Souths, but Wayne Bennett notes he had no say in it.
St Helens half Lewis Dodd is set to sign with Souths, but Wayne Bennett notes he had no say in it.

Wayne Bennett says he’s had nothing to do with the recruitment of St Helens’ playmaker Lewis Dodd to South Sydney as he confirmed his own contract talks with the Rabbitohs would ramp up next week.

Souths are on the cusp of signing 22-year-old Dodd from next season and speculation was rife that Bennett, one of the prime candidates to succeed sacked former coach Jason Demetriou, had his fingerprints all over the acquisition.

Bennett, the Dolphins coach, scuppered those suggestions and any innuendo that he was working in the background already at the Bunnies.

“I don’t know anything about Dodd so how could I think anything about him? I have never seen him play,” Bennett said.

“I had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t my decision. I also heard the CEO (Blake Solly) say it was the retention committee’s decision, which included the head coach at the time which was Jason. That’s fine.

“I have got no problems with what they have done. I just don’t know anything about the bloke.”

Solly, on Wednesday, said the club was close to inking a deal with Dodd but added that “the coach has an influence in recruitment and retention, but they don’t have the final say.

“The head coach will be signed after we’ve signed Lewis and if they’re not comfortable with Lewis, if we do get him, they probably shouldn’t be the head coach,” Solly added.

Wayne Bennett and Russell Crowe.
Wayne Bennett shares a laugh with Russell Crowe at a Souths training session in 2019. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Solly and Bennett, off contract at the Dolphins at the end of 2024, have spoken this week about furthering talks about bringing the 74-year-old back to the club that he coached from 2019-2021 to two preliminary finals and a grand final.

“I have spoken to them. I am going to be unemployed at the end of the year so I need a job,” Bennett said.

“(Solly) rang me up and they spoke about an opportunity there in the future. We said we’d get our weekend of football away and talk next week. 

“I like their brand (at the Rabbitohs). I like them. I have got a good relationship with everybody there. It is an iconic club and I just like the vibe there, but we are not talking until next week.”