Bennett’s the ‘perfect candidate’

Published 1:22pm 1 May 2024

Bennett’s the ‘perfect candidate’
Words by Kylie Knight

It was business as usual at Dolphins’ training this morning for Wayne Bennett despite feverish speculation he’s heading to South Sydney next season.

According to the club, he hasn’t spoken to the Rabbitohs but is interested in the Head Coach position.

He’s off contract at the end of this season and has made it clear he will be looking for a job.

For the Dolphins, nothing has changed. Bennett was always handing over the Head Coach reins to assistant Kristian Woolf at the end of this season and the club has been planning for that since his arrival.

This morning’s training session started later than usual, as the squad reviewed their ‘flat’ performance against the Knights last week, before getting stuck into it on the training field.

Prop Jarrod Wallace says there was no big announcement to players from Bennett on his future.

“He had a chat with us this morning … effective immediately he’s leaving, I’m playing halfback, Woolfie’s taken over and Kerr’s doing everything he does … Nah …,’ Wallace said laughing.

“Obviously he’d be the perfect candidate for it. He’s off-contract, he’s a fantastic coach, he’s been there, he knows exactly how that club works, the culture works and the players.

“I don’t think Wayne will know until probably the end of the year what he’s going to do … but they’d be silly to not put him in contention.

“He hasn’t told us anything at the moment. I know he would be more worried about our stuff and getting through this. He’ll do his stuff behind the scenes that no-one ever knows about.”

Wallace believes the 74-year-old still has the drive to coach at the top level.

“One hundred per cent he’s still got it. He’s here every day, he’s bouncing around like he’s 25 even though he’s 125. He just loves being around the boys,” Wallace said.

“We keep him young and he’s still making hard decisions and getting good results on the field. I honestly can’t see him leaving the game anytime soon.”

So, what does he bring as a coach that could help Souths?

“I just think he brings accountability. He does everything off the field for us as players and he gets the best out of us. I think that’s what Souths need,” Wallace said.

“He went to the Grand Final with them in 2019 or 2020, he was getting the best out of them then. If he was to go there, obviously that would be it.

“At the moment, I know he’s worried about us and is trying to get the best out of us.”

Wallace said the speculation would not be a distraction for the side, or Bennett, as they prepare to take on the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday.

“It’s got nothing to do with any of us. That’s a Souths thing now. Whatever Wayne’s doing, he’s worrying about us,” Wallace said.

“Obviously we already know what we’re doing, we’ve got Woolfie next year.”

Bennett’s message to players this morning was to have better ball control and to stop making silly errors that put them under pressure, against the Knights, and gave their opponents opportunities.

Wallace, 32, is on standby to fill in for Jesse Bromwich, if needed this weekend, as the Captain manages a corked calf.

Bromwich, Jeremy Marshall-King and Euan Aitken were rested this morning but have been named in the starting line-up.

Returning to the side this week will be Felise Kaufusi and Connelly Lemuelu.

Training photos

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