Broncos hook Griffin over Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos hook Griffin over Bennett

By Jim Morton and Wayne Heming 08/04/2011 06:26:28 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane may be in the dark about Wayne Bennett's decision not to return to the Broncos, but they are excited about the potential of Anthony Griffin as their long-term coach.

No sooner had Bennett, now the centre of a battle between Newcastle and South Sydney, pulled out of a celebrated homecoming than Griffin was given a two-year contract extension through to the end of 2013.

While the NRL's most successful coach's knockback came as somewhat of a shock, the Broncos were prepared for it, with their board having met 24 hours earlier to endorse Griffin as their long-term coach.

Chief executive Paul White, a close friend of Bennett's for 30 years, said the club had seen enough in three wins from four matches this season, after replacing Ivan Henjak, to know Griffin was the only other man it wanted at the helm.

Bennett delivered the news to White in person at his Brisbane home on Thursday night but White did not push him on the reasons for the snub.

However, he was quick to deny the six-time premiers had lost their aura, having missed out on Greg Inglis this season and now Bennett after missing the finals for the first time in 18 seasons last year.

"What today heralds is a bright future at the club," White said.

"I think in Anthony we've got one of the most promising up and coming coaches in the NRL.

"He cares about his players and I know they want to play for him and that's a great sign. If that's the baseline for success then Anthony is going to have plenty of it.

"If we can respect our rich history and what's driven the club to where we are we'll always have that place, if not at the top of the tree, we'll be fighting to always be there."

Bennett's decision comes two weeks after the Broncos publicly began negotiations with their foundation coach.

During that time, there were front and back-page stories claiming the seven-time premiership coach had already agreed a two-year deal with Brisbane.

While White could not shed any light at Friday's press conference, it's understood Bennett was unimpressed by the reports.

He has enjoyed coaching St George Illawarra over the past three years because he's not subjected to the scrutiny and fanfare in Wollongong that he would be constantly exposed to in Brisbane.

"I'm not going to speculate on what the tipping points were or otherwise for Wayne's decision," White told a packed media conference on Friday.

White did see a silver-lining from the failed process of luring Bennett, saying the negotiations had rebuilt the rapport between club and coach after a bitter fall-out in 2008 that led to his departure.

Griffin, who Bennett attracted to Brisbane from Queensland Cup club Redcliffe five years ago, had no problems being seen as the second-choice candidate.

The 44-year-old also admitted the biggest challenge he faced was replacing skipper Darren Lockyer when he retires this year.

He felt success was definitely achievable in his three-year tenure.

"I'm really excited," said Griffin.

"The club is on the right path.

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