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Wayne Bennett to return in Brisbane Broncos shake-up

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Bennett returns to Broncos

Legendary coach Wayne Bennett is set to be lured back to coach the Brisbane Broncos in 2015.

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Wayne Bennett phoned Lachlan Murdoch on Sunday, convincing the News Corporation boss he could turn around the struggling Broncos, paving the way for him to be announced as head coach of the Brisbane team on Monday.

The approval of Murdoch was all that was required for Bennett to return as coach of the Broncos in 2015, with the power to choose his own staff, following a series of secret meetings of the board of the Brisbane club. The directors reached a near unanimous view that the appointment of the seven-time premiership-winning coach is necessary to restore team mojo in a city the Broncos once dominated. Club directors have met without the knowledge of chief executive Paul White, who is a strong supporter of the incumbent coach, Anthony Griffin.

Bennett, after six years away from his family, was keen to return to Brisbane. The move required the agreement of News, which owns 67 per cent of the shares of the Broncos. Chairman Dennis Watt had the responsibility of seeking the approval of Murdoch, a long-term supporter of the club but Bennett’s phone call clinched the appointment. The Broncos directors believe Bennett can restore team culture, which they think has deteriorated since the 64-year-old left to coach St George Illawarra in 2009.

In demand: Power coach Wayne Bennett is keen to return to his home state.

In demand: Power coach Wayne Bennett is keen to return to his home state. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Three key Broncos players were sacked from Saturday’s match against the Warriors for a midweek, late-night drinking binge. The Broncos defeated the Warriors 28-22, ending a three-game losing streak. The club directors believe Griffin has been given all he has asked for during his three-year term yet the team has finished eighth and 12th the past two seasons. White almost snared Bennett in 2011 when he told the Dragons he was leaving.

Clandestine meetings in the carpark of a supermarket near Sydney Airport between Bennett and White almost reached agreement on a return to the club, where he was the foundation coach. White gained the approval of News to pay Bennett $900,000, a 50 per cent increase on the $600,000 he was paid in his final year at the Broncos three years earlier.

White found another $50,000 to produce a $950,000 offer Bennett described as ‘‘disrespectful,’’ although he disputes saying this. Nor would White agree to all the players and staff Bennett sought to bring to the club. Bennett also had concerns about club powerbrokers he could not trust and has a long-term antagonism towards News which apparently dissipated over the weekend.

The gatekeeper: News Corp boss Lachlan Murdoch has the last say over whether Wayne Bennett will return to the Broncos.

The gatekeeper: News Corp boss Lachlan Murdoch has the last say over whether Wayne Bennett will return to the Broncos. Photo: James Alcock

Now, his return is less about money and more about control and a return to his home town. The existing coaching staff and White will be replaced by Bennett appointees in a recreation of the ‘‘Wayne’s World’’ environment which produced six premierships. It is anticipated Bennett will coach the Broncos 2015-2016 and maybe 2017 and Kevin Walters, his assistant at Newcastle, would then take control, with Bennett moving to director of coaching. Ironically, Walters was sacked as Bennett’s assistant in Brisbane a decade ago. He is desperate to gain a top coaching post after being short-listed by Wests Tigers and the Cowboys only for the positions to go to Michael Potter and Paul Green respectively.

It has been speculated in Brisbane that Bennett would install his son-in-law, Ben Ikin, as club CEO, although this was not raised with the board. Bennett doesn’t attend board meetings. He seeks a close relationship with the club CEO, as he had with St George Illawarra’s Peter Doust, and expects the pair of them to run the club.

Ikin, formerly director of commercial services at the Titans, has forged a successful career in the media and is a director of the Cowboys. Bennett would also hope another money tree sprouts in Brisbane to provide third-party sponsorships for players.

The incumbent: Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has the support of chief executive Paul White.

The incumbent: Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has the support of chief executive Paul White. Photo: Getty Images

His long-term benefactor in Brisbane was mining magnate Ken Talbot, who was killed in a plane crash in the Congo in 2010, 10 weeks before he was to face court on corruption charges. The NRL and Australian Securities and Investments Commission are investigating a $300,000 payment from the Broncos Leagues Club, believed to have been used to pay players for third- party deals which fell through.

The Broncos board was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, with Bennett previously declaring he would not negotiate with a club which has a coach. It is understood Griffin was told on Sunday he would not be fulfilling next season’s final year of his contract, clearing the way for a formal declaration on Bennett on Monday. Brisbane did not respond to a request for comment.

93 comments

  • Thank goodness for that! Dragons sure didn't need tag-along Boyd messing up a seriously good backline & Bennett killing off a great up-&-coming coaching team. Again.

    Commenter
    Bazzio101
    Location
    Mt Colah
    Date and time
    July 21, 2014, 12:59AM
    • Six years!? What the..?

      Why the hell wouldn't his family move to Newcastle with him? That's absurd but probably typical of insular QLDrs. They should all be made to go live in another state for 3 years after leaving school. Any state would do.

      Commenter
      PJ
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 9:55AM
    • Yes, I strongly agree - we didn't need Boyd back at the Dragons. We should back Mary as coach and build on what he has managed to achieve over the last few games.

      Commenter
      PaddoBeeGee
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 10:29AM
    • @PJ Insular Queenslanders, wow what a genius you are..

      Commenter
      Danno
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 1:01PM
    • @ Danno
      Thanks mate. Just calling it like it is.

      Commenter
      PJ
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 1:05PM
    • Couldn't agree more Bazzio - And what could more satisfying than to win a premiership with home grown talent like McGregor? Fingers crossed for the Red V from here on. Have to feel for the Knights fans though. They didn't deserve the hand they were dealt last 3 years.

      Commenter
      Yachtie
      Location
      Maroubra
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 1:09PM
    • @PJ
      Calling as it is without first having a clue.
      It’s well known that Bennett’s family stays in Queensland because it is seen as the better option for his two disabled children.
      Before you judge maybe you should look into the depth of his background and you’ll see why that decision was made.

      Commenter
      Drowning Not Waving
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 1:35PM
    • @Drowning
      Are you trying to tell us that there are no disabled children's facilities in Newcastle - a city of half a million people? Please think before you reply.

      Commenter
      PJ
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 22, 2014, 12:13PM
  • Left the Knights after the Tinkler money dried up.
    Lovely.

    Commenter
    Poida!
    Date and time
    July 21, 2014, 3:14AM
    • He left the Knights because they're hopeless, look at yesterdays game , if Alex Mckinnon can't inspire a team to lift then what hope have they got.
      Good on Wayne Bennett for coming back to Brisbane, Newcastle can have Anthony Griffin!!

      Commenter
      Kapster
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 21, 2014, 8:46AM

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT vs PAR 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 19:45SUN
MAN vs SOU 19:45BO
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 15:00Westpac Stadium
CRO vs NQL 17:30Remondis Stadium
PAR vs PEN 19:30TIO
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCT 14:00AAMI
NEW vs SYD 16:00HS
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs WST 19:00GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL vs SOU 19:451300 Smiles Stadium
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 19:45SUN
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
PEN vs NZW 17:30Pepper Stadium
SYD vs PAR 19:30AS
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs MAN 14:00GIO Stadium
CBY vs GCT 16:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs MEL 19:00Remondis Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 19:45WIN
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs CBY 19:45ANZ
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs WST 15:00Remondis Stadium
NZW vs NQL 17:30MSS
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus Super Stadium
MAN vs PAR 16:00BO
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NEW 19:00AAMI
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs BRI 19:45AS
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN vs SYD 19:45BO
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 15:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 17:30HS
MEL vs NQL 19:30AAMI
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NZW 14:00CSS
GCT vs STG 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs PEN 19:30GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD vs SOU 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN vs NEW 15:00Pepper Stadium
STG vs WST 17:30ANZ
NQL vs GCT 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBR 14:00Pirtek Stadium
CRO vs MAN 16:00Remondis Stadium
CBY vs NZW 18:30ANZ
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Brisbane Broncos 19 15 4 0 34
North Queensland Cowboys 19 15 4 0 34
Sydney Roosters 19 13 6 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 19 12 7 0 28
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 19 11 8 0 26
Melbourne Storm 19 10 9 0 24
St George-Illawarra Dragons 19 9 10 0 22
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 19 9 10 0 22
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