Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett may move on at the end of the season. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett may move on at the end of the season. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Bennett’s cold walkout, rumour mill mayhem

WAYNE Bennett is reportedly searching for a new NRL club to coach and looking to break his Broncos contract one season early.

The Courier-Mail first reported Bennett had been informed his request for a one-season contract extension through to the end of the 2020 season had been knocked back by the club's board of directors.

That has reportedly prompted Bennett to explore a path of walking out on his contract at the end of this season in the hope of securing one final NRL head coach job.

Bennett may in fact be sidestepping the axe, with the Broncos' board reportedly set for a showdown meeting in October to consider sacking the man who has led the club to all six of its premierships.

In the face of rapidly declining support at the club, Bennett has reportedly instructed agent Gavin Orr to approach rival NRL clubs about their head coaching positions after the 2018 season.

Reports last week indicated Bennett had spoken with a Panthers official about replacing sacked coach Anthony Griffin at the end of this year.

Despite saying last week that he wants to remain at Brisbane, Bennett has also been linked with a move to the Titans.

With the Broncos having lost to the Cowboys and Bulldogs in the past two weeks, Bennett's options do not appear as wide or as bountiful as thought at the start of the season.

Despite the Broncos' form slump, The Daily Telegraph reports the NRL rumour mill has Bennett, 68, linked with  Penrith, Parramatta, St George Illawarra and the Gold Coast.

Despite both remaining contracted for the 2019 season, Cowboys coach Paul Green and Anthony Seibold are  rumoured to be a chance of moving to the Broncos at the end of the 2018 season.

Penrith general manager Phil Gould may be interested in Bennett. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
Penrith general manager Phil Gould may be interested in Bennett. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

On Monday, Penrith legend Mark Geyer endorsed his team's link with Bennett, saying the veteran coach was exactly what the club needed now.

Geyer said the Panthers were very capable of winning the grand final in 2018 and 2019 and he believed the club must consider Bennett on a two-year deal to focus solely on winning the competition in those seasons.

"Cameron Ciraldo is a really good young coach and I think he'll be a career coach as well, but for the short term, Penrith have got this window at the moment where the next 12 to  18 months is very imperative to win a comp and I think they will if they get a bloke like Wayne Bennett for a period of two years," Geyer told Triple M's Grill Team.

He said Bennett and Panthers supremo Phil Gould would simply have to learn to share the balance of power at the club.

"They'd both have to cop each other. It's as simple as that," he said.

"If Bennett wants a job and Gus wants someone who can lead Penrith to win the comp, then I think Bennett is that guy."

 Broncos great Kevin Walters said he still expected Bennett to coach the Broncos in 2019 - as club chief executive Paul White declared at the start of the season when the Broncos were first sprung making a play for Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

"I think he'll be there next year - unless something else comes up for Wayne," Walters told Sky Sports Radio.

"I believe that he'll be coaching the Broncos next year and he has a contract there for next year."

Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says he will fulfil his contract at the club. Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says he will fulfil his contract at the club. Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

On Saturday, Ivan Cleary ended speculation on a move to Penrith next season, confirming he "intends" to honour the final two years of his contract with the Wests Tigers.

In a prepared two-minute statement, Cleary said he was not aware Penrith chairman Dave O'Neill would discuss the club's coaching future during a recent meeting.

Cleary insisted no offer had been made to return to his former club, but immediately informed Tigers bosses about the Panthers' approach on Monday.

"When I was approached by the Panthers initially I had no idea it was about coaching their club," Cleary said on Saturday.

"I was told in that meeting that the club were looking at the future of the head coaching position. I advised the Panthers of my ongoing contract status with the Wests Tigers.

"I subsequently advised the chair and CEO of the Wests Tigers of the discussions I'd had with the Panthers."

Penrith supremo Phil Gould insisted Cleary's decision to inform Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe of the development prompted the Panthers to eventually cut ties with Anthony Griffin.

Cleary, who refused to take further questions on the matter, said he was shocked by Penrith's decision to fire Griffin last this week.

- with AAP


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