The Brisbane Broncos have ended all speculation around whether they would extend Wayne Bennett beyond 2019, but Bennett has expressed the intent to see his contractual obligations right through until the end.
Bennett was seeking one more year at the Broncos’ helm, but the Brisbane board knocked back the request by Bennett for an extension through 2020.
More than a few observers felt that Bennett would abandon the club if it did not give him the additional year and it would have seemed in the club’s best interest to retain a coach with seven premierships to his credit, but his decision to coach the England national team may have been his undoing.
Bennett will be 69 years of age come the dawn of 2019, but seems determined to keep on doing what he does very well. He is on his second tour with Brisbane, having coached the Broncos for 532 games from 1988 to 2008. He went from Brisbane to the Dragons for 2009 through 2011, followed by Newcastle from 2012 – 2014. He returned to Brisbane in 2015 and has produced a highly respectable 64 percent win ratio during the most recent span.
It would seem as though Bennett’s primary fault is the length of his tenure. Next year will mark his 26th and final season holding the reins of the Broncos. He captured six premierships as the Brisbane leader and the club have been the most successful in the NRL over the span of close to 30 years since their 1988 founding.
Bennett’s future beyond 2019 is yet to be determined. He could likely get a job with another NRL club, an international squad or practically anything he desires, but his love of the city of Brisbane might actually have done more to hurt than help his cause.
Former Brisbane Captain Justin Hodges, appearing on NRL 360, said, “The board have made a strong stance and I think it is about time we move onto a different coach and try new things.”
Hopefully, one of those new things does not include the Broncos morphing into Parramatta, Manly, or the like.