Journos go into battle over Wayne Bennett
WAYNE Bennett has distanced himself from the Warriors job, saying he's happy with life at South Sydney. Or so he says.
Bennett's deal at Redfern runs until the end of next year with Jason Demetriou to step up when the seven-time premiership winner leaves.
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That hasn't, however, stopped Bennett being linked with a variety of jobs including the Bulldogs one and the Warriors role vacated by Stephen Kearney, all while being touted as a replacement for the embattled Paul McGregor.
That prompted Bennett to come out and distance himself from the other jobs and declare he would see out his time with Souths.
The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent, however, believes that what Bennett says in public is different to what will actually happen.
Disagreeing with his colleague Paul Crawley on NRL360, Kent argued that Bennett was likely to jump before the end of his Souths deal.
"He'll sack himself like he did at Newcastle," Kent said.
"He'll say Jason Demetriou is ready to go. Jason Demetriou is more than ready to go, and if Wayne's got an opportunity to go to another NRL club next season."
But Crawley insisted that Bennett never sacked himself.
Paul Crawley: "Paul, you're rewriting history mate, he never sacked himself at Newcastle."
Paul Kent: "He said that, that's his quote. I sacked myself was his quote. "
PC: "Paul, let me tell you what happened at Newcastle. Nathan Tinkler went broke."
PK: "There you go. If you want to believe him, you believe him. You believe what he tells you in private, but you don't believe what he tells us in public."
PC: "I'm telling you what happened."
PK: "That's his quote I sacked myself."
PC: "Yes … when he left. But they'd also changed every condition of that contract Paul, they'd done it to all his staff at the time. They weren't paying their bills."
Kent was then asked by host Ben Ikin what he saw Bennett doing later this year. He said Bennett was a shrewd operator who could sense when an opportunity was going to present itself.
"The smart move from Wayne is to take the job this year, to finish this season at the Rabbitohs, give Demetriou an early start on his career," Kent said.
"And if there's a job available at the end of the season, there's one he has knocked back, there's potentially four more - take one of those jobs."
Ikin threw the debate wide open and asked if clubs were so fervently interested in Bennett, who turns 71 next year, it showed there was a lack of top coaches coming through.
"I think there are select coaches who can walk into a club and make the changes necessary to take a team from the bottom to the top," Crawley said.
"You've got Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy, Des Hasler, the experienced coaches like that who have been around long enough to know how a salary cap works, the recruitment, they can walk in and pull it all together.
"The problem for a lot of young coaches is they walk into a job that's destined for failure.
"I think the Dean Pay situation at Canterbury is a perfect example, he's taken on a roster, a salary cap that was beyond him fixing in the term that he was there, and he would be learning everything on the run as a head coach."
Originally published as Fiery debate over NRL coach's bluff