Bennett lessons will stick with Demetriou

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Jason Demetriou has learned plenty in five years under Wayne Bennett but one thing stands out as he contemplates the seemingly inevitable prospect of coaching against his mentor in 2023.

"I definitely will not be starting anything in the media if I coach against Wayne, 'cause that's not going to be good for me," the South Sydney assistant, who will replace Bennett as Rabbitohs head coach next season, told AAP.

"It's about being authentic to who I am; I'm not going to turn up next year and try and be Wayne Bennett, that just won't work."

Bennett has famously won battles on and off the field in a coaching career that stretches across five decades.

On Sunday against Penrith he will coach a fourth different club in a 10th NRL decider, seeking an eighth title.

Demetriou says, off the field at least, he'll operate differently once in charge next season.

But that didn't stop him delivering a Bennett-like clip to his former employer in the lead up to Sunday's decider at Suncorp Stadium.

"My experience with Wayne and the stuff I went through at Brisbane has opened my eyes to the things that can happen at clubs that aren't run the way they should be," he told AAP four days after Bennett claimed the Broncos had "undermined" him.

"But the thing I've got going for me next year is that I've got a great club, supportive board and outstanding CEO, which mean my job - to make sure the team plays well every week - isn't too hard."

An English Super League star in the 2000s, Demetriou had won silverware at all four clubs he coached at, including as Paul Green's assistant at North Queensland against Bennett's Brisbane, before being lured to the Broncos in 2017.

When Bennett was sacked a year later it triggered an early coaching switch and his right-hand man, who had interviewed for the Broncos' top job but been overlooked for Anthony Seibold, followed Bennett back to his native Sydney.

"I never went there expecting to be the next head coach," Demetriou reflected of Bennett's messy Red Hill exit.

"I know I was interviewed, but I went there to work under Wayne and learn as much as I could ... coming to Souths has just been a breath of fresh air."

A new NRL club is likely to exist in south-east Queensland in 2023 and Bennett is firming as the expansion team's inaugural coach.

"You love to coach against the best and it's a no-brainer for a new team in Brisbane," Demetriou said of the likely match-up.

"I don't think there's a better coach in the game to start a new franchise."

Demetriou has ensured his planning and recruitment for next season hasn't been confused with the hunt for more silverware as he savours his final campaign with Bennett.

"When I started coaching, I'd never have thought I'd get an opportunity to spend five years under Wayne Bennett," he said.

"It is a long way from Barlow Park (where Demetriou began his Australian coaching career with the Cairns-based Queensland Cup outfit Northern Pride).

"But for the rest of my career I'll be looking back and reflecting on things I learnt and did over the time.

"The best thing that happened to me was when I got to work in Brisbane, Wayne said to 'think and act like a head coach'.

"He's been 100 per cent supportive of that from the day I started."


* 2011 - Won League 1 title to earn promotion to second-tier Championship as captain-coach of Keighley Cougars

* 2014 - Won the Queensland Cup and inaugural NRL State Championship with Cairns' Northern Pride

* 2015 - Won NRL title as Paul Green's assistant at North Queensland

* 2016 - St George Illawarra assistant coach and head coach of feeder team Illawarra Cutters, who won the NSW Cup-NRL State Championship

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