The stalemate looks set to continue at Brisbane after chief executive Paul White refused to clarify the club’s long-term plan and whether it involves Wayne Bennett beyond 2019.
White fronted media at Red Hill on Friday morning in an attempt to quell speculation around the coaching job, shutting down reports former South Sydney coach Michael Maguire had been offered a three-year-deal at the club.
Bennett is off contract at the end of next season and wants to continue as an NRL coach, but White refused to detail the club’s long-term plan except to say the master coach wouldn’t be sacked ahead of next season.
Paul White’s 34 min presser revealed – a guarantee Bennett will coach in 2019 (I don’t think he will) – there is no offer to Maguire. Wouldn’t confirm or deny Bennett has been told there’s no extension (but he has been told)
— Chris Garry (@ChrisGarry7) August 17, 2018
The 69-year-old Bennett, who has been at the helm for all six of Brisbane’s premierships, has indicated he won’t walk away before his contracted expires.
It means all signs lead to the master coach remaining at Red Hill next season.
But what happens beyond that remains a mystery, with White refusing to confirm reports Bennett had been offered a non-coaching role at the club from 2020.
The chief executive and long-time friend of Bennett admitted the pair’s relationship had strained this season, but he is prepared to cop the flak as he takes a patient approach.
“Half the coaches in the competition are off contract in 2019,” he told media the morning after the Broncos’ 38-18 defeat of South Sydney.
“Time’s on our side here; we’ve got 14 months until we have to make a decision.
“We’re not going to be rushed into a decision.”
White conceded the club had opened a can of worms by chasing Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy earlier this year.
But he said the fact the in-demand mentor was off-contract this season meant it would’ve been remiss not to investigate the option.
“Yes we went after one coach; we haven’t gone back into the market since,” he said.
White also curiously backed club captain Darius Boyd’s decision to skip the CEO’s club function to dine with Bennett instead, in a move pundits interpreted as a powerplay in favour of the coach.
“The players are entitled to support their coach and I don’t see that as a bad thing,” he said.
“Darius sent me a text message saying he was going over to the coach’s house and I support that.”
White also denied a number of rumours and reports surrounding the Broncos coaching situation, including the claim that the club had sounded out premiership-winning former Bunnies coach Michael Maguire.
Seibold slams media circus
Anthony Seibold has hit out at the ‘circus’ of media speculation surrounding the ongoing NRL coaching sagas.
The first-year Rabbitohs coach has been linked with the Broncos to replace Wayne Bennett despite being contracted until the end of 2019.
It was reported on Wednesday that he was as good as off to Brisbane – and by the end of South Sydney’s loss to the Broncos on Thursday night he’d had enough.
“It’s been a circus the last week in regards to the speculation around my coaching career,” he said in a stern statement to open his press conference.
“Individually I’m really disappointed. I’ve been very open with the media and some of the things that have been said in the media are just not true.
“I’m not going to answer any questions about the Broncos, I’m not going to answer any speculation about my coaching career. I’m contracted to the Rabbitohs for the next 15 months.”
Earlier, Bennett had responded to questions about his future in the same fashion as he has for the past few weeks.
The Broncos coach said once again that he wanted to remain in charge for the 2019 season.
He also suggested a report that said Bennett had been offered an off-field role with the club was off the mark, saying he hadn’t heard about it before it was made public.