Warwick to be Waynewick for a week - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warwick to be Waynewick for a week

By Wayne Heming 05/10/2010 05:44:33 PM Comments (0)

Wayne Bennett's birthplace of Warwick on the Darling Downs hopes to erect a life-size statue of the iconic coach and re-name its town "Waynewick" for a week in his honour.

Born in the small community of Allora just north of Warwick, Bennett played junior football in the district before joining the Queensland Police force as a teenager to help support his family after his father died when he was just 11.

After claiming his seventh NRL premiership from seven grand finals following St George Illawarra's triumph over the Sydney Roosters on Sunday, Bennett is set to join cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman and tennis' grand slam great Rod "Rocket" Laver, who have been immortalised with statues in their home towns.

Bradman has a statue in his memory in the NSW township of Bowral while a bust of Laver takes pride and place on the banks of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton.

"We've claimed Wayne Bennett and we'll go down that path eventually of recognising his origins of course, with his permission," Warwick Mayor Ron Bellingham told AAP.

Bennett's seventh premierships - two more than the great Jack Gibson - after his six out of six with the Brisbane, elevates the 60-year-old Queenslander to one of the best sporting coaches Australia has produced.

Mayor Bellingham said this week consideration would be given to erecting a statue to immortalise Bennett with the help and consultation of the local rugby league community who cheered for the Dragons at the weekend.

"I'm sure that will happen," he said.

"He's an iconic coach and an iconic figure. I'm sure in the fullness of time there will be a significant acknowledgment of Wayne Bennett in this community.

"This community is very proud of its successes, including Wayne Bennett.

"I think we punch well above our weight being a relatively small community.

"We've got (netballer) Laura Geitz competing at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and it goes a long, long way back to (boxer) Carl Fitzgerald who fought at the Olympics.

Mayor Bellingham was also open to an AAP suggestion the township be re-named for a week with Bennett given the keys to the city.

"Waynewick .... that hadn't crossed my mind but it's a very interesting idea," he said.

"It's a great idea. The first time he's back I'll keep that in mind and certainly talk to others about doing that."

Bennett often gets away to his property near Warwick and is hugely popular with the locals whenever he ventures into town.

"We have a magnificent monument to past Queensland premier (Thomas Joseph Byrnes, 1898) which takes pride and place in the centre of the town," said Mayor Bellingham.

"I'm sure we could find a suitable place for one of Wayne Bennett."

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