GB hoping to keep coach Bennett in place

Great Britain chiefs say they won't rush into a decision over Wayne Bennett's future

Great Britain will mount a salvage operation to keep Wayne Bennett in the job when they take on Papua New Guinea in the last match of their tour but insist, win or lose, there will be no knee-jerk reaction.

The return of the Great Britain brand after a 12-year absence is threatening to turn into a nightmare after three defeats out of three so far and pressure is mounting on veteran Australian coach Bennett, whose contract with the Rugby Football League runs out after Saturday's game in Port Moresby.

South Sydney Rabbitohs and England mentor Bennett, who turns 70 on New Year's Day, has consistently spoken of his desire to take England into the 2021 World Cup, although he admitted in the post-match press conference in Christchurch last Saturday that the national team had taken a backward step.

"I've not spoken to him since the press conference but certainly when I left, he was very positive about the job going forward," English RFL chief executive Rimmer said.

"We'll do a debrief once the tour has finished and not before. I won't pre-empt the outcome but what I will say is don't forget what Wayne has achieved as a coach.

"The review won't be purely on the playing side, there's all sorts of elements of the tour that we need to consider.

"That wrap will take place in December and the executive will make some recommendations to be put to the board early next year."

Bennett has been forced to defend his Lions squad selection since the tourists arrived in Port Moresby, insisting there is no bias towards English players.

Bennett has kept the side that lost 23-8 to New Zealand, with Warrington stand-off Blake Austin continuing as a makeshift winger, but drafted Canberra-bound stand-off George Williams and a fit-again Joe Philbin onto the bench in place of Daryl Clark and Josh Jones.

Defeat against the Kumuls, whose side contains only a handful of full-time players, would turn a disappointing tour into a disastrous one but Bennett is remaining upbeat.

"It's important to us, they've all been important to us," Bennett told reporters.

"We've played some pretty good football in the three matches. We haven't always been at our best but we've been good and more than competitive."