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Bennett holds off on plans post-2011

By Steve Jancetic 07/09/2010 06:25:20 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett will reassess his future at the completion of the NRL finals, with a return to the Dragons for 2011 his only guarantee.

The subject of talk he will return to his home state to link up with either North Queensland or Brisbane - with whom he spent 21 seasons before switching to the Dragons last year - Bennett said he was in no rush to make a decision on his coaching future.

On the eve of a finals series where his Dragons enter as overwhelming favourites to end the joint-venture's premiership duck, Bennett said his only focus remained the next month of football.

Beyond that, Bennett said he would wait until he was back with his family before assessing his next move.

"I'm going home in October-November and I'm going to think about a few things, see where I'm at," Bennett said of his coaching future.

Asked if he would make a decision then, he said:

"I may not.

"I'll be back here in 2011, I know that.

"I'm just in no rush - I don't see why I need to hurry, I think I've got a job here if I want it."

With back-to-back minor premierships and another tilt at a premiership beckoning, it's fair to say the Dragons job was Bennett's as long as he wanted it.

He described the strain of living away from his family for much of the year as "manageable", though any job bar a return to the Broncos would necessitate him living away from home.

Broncos coach Ivan Henjak is rumoured to be under pressure to hold onto his post despite taking a youthful Brisbane side - well short of the talent Bennett had at his disposal while at the Broncos - within one win of the finals.

In Townsville, the first two years of Neil Henry's five-year deal with the Cowboys have been ones he'd rather forget.

North Queensland's playing roster has undergone a major overhaul as has the front office ahead of next year's campaign, but a slow start to the 2011 season could see Henry given the flick.

It is widely believed Bennett's decision could ultimately be swayed by whether the Dragons can finally break through for a grand final win, but the 60-year-old also revealed his desire to create a red and white dynasty.

Bennett has worked tirelessly to sure-up much of the Dragons talent for the next few years, with the likes of key figures Ben Hornby, Jamie Soward, Mark Gasnier, Ben Creagh and Dean Young amongst those to have secured new deals.

All except Bennett.

"That's part of stability, that's part of consistency of being a good football club," Bennett said of the key re-signings.

"Not for one year or two years but to be there for a long time - that's what the great clubs do."

As he looks to make up for last year's straight sets dismissal from the NRL finals, Bennett believes he has made the necessary adjustments to ensure the Dragons are much more formidable this time around.

"We're certainly not as tired I know that, I hope we're a bit more confident," Bennett said.

"From my point of view that puts us in a better spot, they're the two things I've been thinking about.

"We came back and worked extremely hard to put ourselves in the same position as last year where we've got another opportunity to get right what we couldn't get right last year."

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