Souths, Knights in battle for Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Souths, Knights in battle for Bennett

By Steve Jancetic And Jim Morton 08/04/2011 06:27:48 PM Comments (0)

Gorden Tallis claims South Sydney can deliver Wayne Bennett an NRL premiership within three years.

The veteran coach pitch-forked Hollywood star Russell Crowe and mining magnate Nathan Tinkler into a battle for his services on Friday after ruling out a return to Brisbane in 2012.

The Broncos subsequently announced Anthony Griffin would stay on as coach until the end of the 2013 season.

It had been widely assumed Bennett would head back to Brisbane after announcing last week he would leave St George Illawarra at the end of the year.

Friday's stunning development has seemingly left Crowe's Rabbitohs up against Tinkler's newly-acquired Knights in a battle for his services.

A move to either club would present Bennett with the opportunity to become the first man to coach three different clubs to a premiership.

It is a task Tallis claims would be achievable within three years at Souths.

"If Wayne wants a challenge, I think South Sydney can give him that challenge," Tallis, who is an assistant coach at the Rabbitohs, told Fox Sports.

"I think South Sydney is very close to a premiership - Sam Burgess, Dave Taylor, Roy Asotasi, Issac Luke in the forward pack, that's not to be laughed at.

"(Then there's) Greg Inglis and obviously Darius Boyd goes with him - maybe that's the secret recipe that South Sydney needs.

"South Sydney is the most traditional club, they haven't won a competition for a long, long time ... one thing that we could offer him would probably be a premiership within three years."

Broncos chief executive Paul White said Bennett had given him no indication of his plans.

"He didn't give too much away and that's consistent with Wayne," White said.

"He's still got a number of options on the table."

The Bunnies were early favourites to snare Bennett for 2012 when it emerged late last year the seven-time premiership winner would not be extending his stay at the Dragons.

Crowe has made no secret of his desire to lure the master coach, but he went quiet on the subject in January.

It was believed the Rabbitohs had turned their attentions to Wigan coach Michael Maguire.

However, the former Melbourne assistant coach indicated this week he would remain in the UK and there were rumours the Bunnies had simply been trying to throw people off the scent of their desire for Bennett.

The master coach is known for his dislike at having his future played out in the papers.

So much so that he pulled out of a deal with the Sydney Roosters in 2007 when it was leaked to the media.

At 61, Bennett's next destination is likely to be his last and he would need to be assured that wherever he did end up, he could contend for the title immediately.

While Tallis claims the Rabbitohs are ready to contend now, so too would the Knights with the cashed-up Tinkler on board.

Neither Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson or Tinkler Sports Group chairman Ken Edwards would comment on the situation.

A move to Newcastle would also allow Bennett to retain the quiet existence he enjoyed in Wollongong while with the Dragons, while Tinkler's private jet would make the trip home to see his family in Brisbane far more convenient than it is now.

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