Meninga: Broncos should look to Phil Gould
STATE of Origin is not the only simmering rugby league rivalry being played out in Melbourne this week.
While tonight's State of Origin game at the MCG is undoubtedly the main course, Sunday's showdown between the Storm and Broncos - or more correctly, their two coaches - is a mouth-watering dessert.
The soap opera surrounding Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy and their respective coaching futures over the past few weeks has been fascinating to watch.
The Broncos want Bellamy as coach, but Bennett is not ready to ride off into the sunset just yet and is digging in his heels.
Both coaches were together at a lunch in Toowoomba last week, and it provided a pretty telling insight into where the situation sits.
Bennett has a contract, and says he will be Brisbane's coach in 2019. His chief executive, Paul White, has guaranteed he has the job.
Brisbane are an honourable club, and White an honourable man.
It would go against the culture of the club and the CEO for Bennett to be shoved out the door after a personal guarantee from the boss that his job was safe.
I don't think anyone at the Broncos would want to see Bennett treated with the disrespect of being pushed out after everything he has done for the club.
Bellamy for his part, says he has no interest in taking a year off waiting for Bennett's contract to expire, and less interest in forcing the Broncos to sack Bennett so he can move in.
So where does that leave us? With Bennett as Broncos coach, and Bellamy re-signing to stay at the Storm.
As a football fan, I think this is the best result for both parties.
Both coaches are the personification of the clubs they have built, and I think shifting Bennett aside for Bellamy would tarnish the legacy of both men.
The remaining question is, with all of this jockeying for position between the two heavyweights, has Kevin Walters accidentally found himself in the box seat to be the next Broncos coach?
We now know that the Broncos are starting to look to the future and life after Bennett, so what is their best option with Bellamy out of the picture?
The answer is Phil Gould.
I will wait for Broncos fans to stop choking on their Cornflakes to explain.
I'm not suggesting Gus should be the next Broncos coach, but I do think that the system he has created at Penrith is where the Broncos need to be headed for their regeneration as a club after Bennett.
The idea of a coaching director or general manager of football sitting above the coach, like Gould does with Anthony Griffin at the Panthers, is the model I think all NRL clubs will eventually follow.
The Broncos have the perfect opportunity to get in front of the pack.
If Bennett wants a new deal at the club for 2020 and beyond, why not put him into a coaching director's role where he can mentor Brisbane's next coach, and ensure the standards and culture of the club - that he created - continue on?
Bennett could then be in charge of all football operations at the club - taking in things like development and player welfare - while the coach handles the on-field work, and the administration handles the business side.
All they need then is the right man to take the reins from Bennett. A coach with a track record of success, who understands the Broncos culture, but is not afraid to learn or take advice from the old master.
Kevin Walters, come on down.