Bennett to stay on as Broncos coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett to stay on as Broncos coach

14/09/2006 08:05:55 PM Comments (1)

The question Brisbane Broncos boss Bruno Cullen had been avoiding for a week was finally asked - and coach Wayne Bennett gave him the answer he wanted.

Cullen has announced Bennett will see out his contract until the end of the 2009 NRL season, scotching persistent rumours that the long-time Brisbane mentor was heading for NRL rivals the Sydney Roosters next year.

Speculation had been rife that Bennett would leave the club he's coached since its 1988 inception and replace dumped Roosters coach Ricky Stuart next season on a three year, $2.4 million deal.

Adding to the intrigue, Cullen initially said he wouldn't ask his old mate Bennett out of respect for their friendship despite the coach's refusal to bury speculation he could be headed to Bondi next season.

"The relationship we've got is that if Wayne had something to tell me, he'd tell me," Cullen told AAP on Monday.

But Cullen said he finally sat down and spoke with Bennett on Thursday in a bid to place the focus on the Broncos' must-win NRL finals clash against Newcastle at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.

"I don't mind the speculation, but when these rumours start making it in to print and on our TV screens as though it is fact, it becomes very annoying," Cullen said in a statement.

"I have emphasised a number of times during the past week that Wayne has a contract with the Broncos until the end of the 2009 season, and that I expected him to fulfil that.

"I also stated that I had not discussed these rumours with Wayne because our relationship is such that I knew if he had other ideas, he would discuss the issue with me.

"But at the end of the day - and in an effort to 'kill' off the continuing speculation - Wayne and I did sit down to confirm our on-going relationship in regard to his coaching contract at the Broncos.

"Today, I confirm publicly that Wayne and I have met and discussed the conjecture about his future."

A News Limited newspaper last Thursday reported five-time premiership winning coach Bennett was the Roosters' No.1 target and that the Broncos mentor would delay any decision on his future until the end of the NRL season.

Cullen, who was locked away in a Broncos board meeting all day on Thursday, said a succession plan would be put in place at the Broncos - in the next three years.

"The firm commitment from both parties is that the contract will be completed in full," Cullen said.

"During the ensuing three years we will be putting in place a succession plan for the years going forward after 2009.

"This is common practice in business and here at the Broncos we do this to cover a number of positions, including my own as CEO and managing director.

"I am very happy with this arrangement, as is Wayne and the Broncos board, and we all look forward to continuing the success we have experienced with him at the helm during the history of the Broncos."

Former Roosters and Broncos forward Trevor Gillmeister made sure the drama continued to bubble earlier in the day after revealing a good friend had recently spotted Bennett lurking around the Coogee district in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

"He just said he'd spotted Wayne in Coogee," Gillmeister told AAP.

But a major factor against Bennett moving was the fact he had two children with special needs and the fact that he would be reluctant to give up the enormous influence he has at a club where he has reigned for 19 years.

Meanwhile, Cullen also tried to play down an imminent review of Bennett's performance as the Broncos fight to stay alive in the NRL finals race.

Bennett already has lost more finals in a row than any other rugby league coach in history - seven, spanning six seasons.

Cullen said Bennett would be reviewed by the Broncos in November even if Brisbane won the 2006 premiership.

"Some people in the media seem to have focused on this practice as a 'will we sack him or won't we?' exercise, and that is simply not the case," he said in the statement.

"Every employee at the club is involved in a review process - including me - and I must stress it's about what we did or did not do during the past year, and how we can do things better, going forward.

"This is our 15th consecutive finals appearance and during that time we have won five premierships.

"This season we finished third on the premiership table for the third consecutive year, which is a magnificent achievement in this tough and very even competition.

"And it has been Wayne Bennett, as coach, who has steered the Broncos through this entire period."

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1 Comments about this article

  • WHo do you think the next Easts coach will be? Adrian Lam?
    Posted by James Ashton Fri Sep 15, 2006 08:03am AEST

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