JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Wayne Bennett says he's interested in returning to St George Illawarra Dragons

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

The Gus & Webby show

Should the NRL impose a salary cap on coaching payments? Phil Gould and Andrew Webster discuss the big issues in League.

PT0M0S 620 349

Wayne Bennett has confirmed his interest in returning to St George Illawarra after the seven-times premiership-winning coach threw himself into the market by announcing he would leave Newcastle at the end of the season.

Bennett, who stunned players and staff with the news on Thursday morning, said he had effectively sacked himself because of unsatisfactory performances at the Knights during his three-year tenure.

However, the 64-year-old insisted that he had not lost his desire to coach in the NRL and simply felt that the rebuilding of the Knights would take more time than he was able to devote to the job.

Time to go: Wayne Bennett fronts the media in Newcastle on Thursday.

Time to go: Wayne Bennett fronts the media in Newcastle on Thursday. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Put simply, Bennett appears keen to take charge of a team he believes is capable of winning a grand final within two years, and it is understood Dragons chief executive Peter Doust has already inquired about his interest in returning to the club he steered to the 2010 premiership.

With Bennett having always insisted he would not talk to a club with another coach in place, St George Illawarra would appear to be his only option following the dismissal of Steve Price six weeks ago. But by announcing he was leaving Newcastle, the former Broncos and Dragons mentor has put the onus on other clubs that could be interested in his services to make a decision on their own coach.

Brisbane, where he won six premierships in 21 seasons before leaving in 2009, head that list. Gold Coast, North Queensland and the Warriors have also been linked to Bennett.

‘‘I can only go to one place and I am not sure what the future holds,’’ Bennett said during a press conference in Newcastle. ‘‘It all remains to be seen what I do. I haven’t made any decisions about that.’’

Asked if he was interested in the Dragons job, Bennett said: ‘‘I am unemployed at the end of October, so I am interested in any job.’’

Despite admitting he had decided to leave the Knights after the club’s ownership was last month transferred from former billionaire Nathan Tinkler to the NRL, Bennett said he was yet to discuss his future with rival clubs.

‘‘I just wanted this matter resolved first and foremost,’’ he said. ‘‘I will see what is available now.’’

Interim St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has growing support to retain the job but knows that if Bennett wishes to return to the club, he will almost certainly have to step aside. Having said he was not interested in coaching elsewhere, McGregor might be lost to the NRL as Bennett did not have a place for the then strength and conditioning coach when he joined the Dragons in 2009.

‘‘With me, nothing really changes,’’ McGregor said. ‘‘What Wayne’s world is, whatever he does he does. I can’t control that; it doesn’t concern me to be honest. He’ll be linked back to the Dragons, Broncos, Cowboys – wherever he wants to be linked back to really.  All I can control is the playing group I’ve got. I don’t concern myself with what’s going to happen in the future because that’s the future.’’

Doust told Fairfax Media: “At the time of announcing Paul McGregor as caretaker coach of the Dragons at the end of May, we also advised that we would be undertaking a detailed process to identify a head coach for next season and beyond.

‘‘We don’t believe it appropriate to speculate on our progress or the candidates.’’

By announcing his departure after three years at the Knights, Bennett said he was accepting responsibility for performances he said had ‘‘embarrassed’’ him.

‘‘Our overall performance this year has been the catalyst,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m extremely disappointed. I’m embarrassed by it.

‘‘It’s time to move on. I’ve spent 12 months, this season, trying to rectify it. And I won’t quit trying to rectify it, but I think it’s up to someone else to take it forward from here.’’

 

26 comments so far

  • Wayne Bennett has confirmed something I've always suspected about so-called "super coaches". Without an absolutely super roster of players beneath them they're just coaches.

    Commenter
    Nidsa
    Date and time
    July 11, 2014, 4:06AM
    • Nope, you're wrong. A super coach becomes that way because he knows how to get the best from his players.
      Bennett is a prime example of a super coach, up there with the greatest but he has experienced his first failure at the Knights this year. Don't forget the Knights almost made the GF last year only knocked out in the prelim finals by the Roosters..

      Commenter
      stevek
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 8:25AM
    • They are only mortal mate, you can't put in what God left out!

      Commenter
      Bluebag
      Location
      Marrickvillle
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 8:38AM
    • Yep in most cases including Bennett your correct.The tag "super' coach should go to the ones who take a poor side and turn them into winners.
      After "Mary's" great start similar to "Cappy" at Warriors why the RedV don't just sign Mary up for a couple of years is mystifying to me.Mary has turned the RedV from easy beats to top 8 contenders in just a few weeks.Sure there is room for improvment etc but long term Mary is a better bet than any "super" coach.They may be better searching for what they really lack-a top ball playing offloading hard wide running second rower in the mould of SBW/Sam Burgess than chasing yesterdays man Bennett.Great to see Benji and Widdop starting to combine well.
      It is amazing to read some Aussie journos say that the Warriors are chasing Bennett.They must be short for a story or delusional.We have just signed "Cappy"who is doing great job for three more years so you can keep the "Super" one.

      Commenter
      Jacko
      Location
      Warriorville
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 9:11AM
    • have to agree 100%. The team he coached in 92 and 93 at the broncos would rival any of the great teams ever. The surprising thing was how long it took him to win a premiership looking at his team. Nice bloke very un league but coach is only as good as it meat.

      Commenter
      kellybellyfonte
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 10:53AM
    • Apparently, they are called 'super coaches' because they have a super arrogance about them, thinking they can just nominate any club and walk into the top job over the heads of the current incumbents.

      Commenter
      Rangga
      Location
      Annan
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 11:39AM
    • ignoring the issues Newcastle have faced off field are we?

      Commenter
      Tired Camel
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 12:06PM
  • Taking Wayne Bennett back would be a backward step for St George. Yes it 'may' win the club a trophy but it the club will be no better off when he leaves again. St George needs a coach that is committed to the club, not a hired mercenary who follows the money and bails out when the going gets tough. Quitting Newcastle now when the club and community needs him most is atrocious. (Although knowing the Newcastle community, they'll be glad to see Bennett go so they can get on with rebuilding the club with a coach who is there for all the right reasons.) St George (and every other club) is bigger than a coach and needs someone who they know is committed to the future of the club and who won't rip the heart out of the playing roster when they go. Bennett's Newcastle failure was always going to be just that because he and his band of followers went for all the wrong reasons.

    Commenter
    Red Blooded
    Date and time
    July 11, 2014, 5:51AM
    • I agree. I think the key to Bennett's status as "Supercoach" is that he spent 21 consecutive seasons at the Broncos. What the Dragons should be looking for is a coach who will stay with the club through thick and thin for the long haul. At the moment it seems that Paul Macgregor could be that person, whereas you would have to think that Wayne Bennett will be retired in 4 or 5 years. Of course, it would also require that the Board and the fans stay the course and not expect instant results for any new coach. The goal should not be "another premiership" but a decade of dominance where the Dragons are a consistent top four team, year in, year out.

      Commenter
      MotorMouth
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2014, 9:55AM
  • St George beware! Wayne Bennett is only a short term fix for any club. Yes the lure of a new shiny trophy may be great but remember the perils of taking on a coach who takes his players with him when he goes. Invest in someone who is interested in the long term future of the club.

    Commenter
    Fools Gold Spotter
    Date and time
    July 11, 2014, 6:02AM

    More comments

    Make a comment

    You are logged in as [Logout]

    All information entered below may be published.

    Error: Please enter your screen name.

    Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Please enter your comment.

    Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

    Post to

    You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

    Thank you

    Your comment has been submitted for approval.

    Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

    Related Coverage

    Four Nations 2014

    Round 1
    Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
    ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
    AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
    NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
    Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
    AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
    NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
    Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
    AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Final
    Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
    NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Four Nations 2014
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D +/- Pts
    New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
    Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
    England 3 1 2 0 0 2
    Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
    View all
     
    Featured advertisers