Souths-bound Bennett says he won’t poach Dolphins guns

Joel Gould |

Wayne Bennett has promised not to raid the Dolphins playing stocks when he coaches South Sydney next year.

The 74-year-old Dolphins mentor is set to sign what is expected to be a three-year deal in the coming days to return to the club he coached from 2019-2021.

The Dolphins have a crop of young players coming though who are shining in the NRL and in lower tiers but Bennett said the club had nothing to fear.

“I won’t be taking any of their kids that they want to keep,” he said.

“That’s not going to happen. I didn’t build this club to try and destroy it.

“If there is a guy that they are not offering a contract to or he is looking to go somewhere else and I think he can play a bit, then that will be a different thing, but I want all these players to stay.”

Bennett said he hadn’t spoken to the Rabbitohs about the players he wanted them to re-sign or recruit.

“I haven’t because I haven’t signed the contract yet,” he said.

“I need to stay focused here and I think I have been pretty good with that.”

Bennett had 18 months to prepare the Dolphins to be NRL-ready when he agreed to coach the side in late 2021.

In contrast, he will be at Rabbitohs pre-season training in six months.

“I’ve moved from a few clubs in my life in the same situation so it is not new to me,” he said.

“I am experienced at it and I know how to handle it. The key thing is that everyone knows what is going on. You just get on with life. They have staff down there who will look after everything until I get there.

“Ben Hornby is doing a great job there now (as acting coach) and I will certainly want him on the coaching staff when I get there. It will be an easy transition.”

Bennett is negotiating his own deal and not engaging a third party. He said he “doesn’t have to worry about managers leaking stuff now when you do you your own deal. It’s good.”

His switch has been a saga for the past three weeks.

He told reporters on Sunday night he would put onlookers out of their misery and get the deal signed this week “just for you”.