Poll reveals fans think Bennett is done
Queensland rugby league fans reckon Wayne Bennett is the past and not the future.
Seventy per cent of the 673 respondents in The Courier-Mail poll gave the thumbs down to the idea of the game's most decorated coach returning to guide the proposed second Brisbane side for the 2023 NRL competition.
South Sydney revealed last week Bennett would leave the club at the end of next season and representatives from three franchises jostling for the rights to be the new team said they would be interested in hiring Bennett, despite the fact he would be 73 when they played their first game.
As always with Bennett, the question divided the fans.
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"Mr Bennett is a bit like an old crooner,'' reader James said.
"He keeps on going because he is who he is and the fans love him. But in recent years its' been all about the money and you cannot blame him for that''.
Another reader, Ross, said: "The fan base pretty much signed his death sentence at the Broncos. I doubt if there has been a sudden change of heart''.
Bennett did however have his fans, with several readers feeling he would add instant gravitas to a new club.
Even people who are not Bennett fans are interested in his progress and some readers pointed out that the local derby between a Bennett-coached Brisbane side and his old club the Broncos would be essential viewing and box office gold.
"Wouldn't it be embarrassing for the Broncos if Bennett coached the new club and they finished better than the Broncos?,'' Stuart asked. "That would be great to see.''
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The NRL commission is scheduled to make a decision on the admittance of a 17th club by mid-year, with the Brisbane Bombers, Ipswich and Redcliffe outfits considered the leading contenders given there is a strong preference for the club to come from southeast Queensland.
Other contenders likely to be discussed as coaching options include Kevin Walters, particularly if Ipswich gets the nod, and North Queensland coach Paul Green.
The Bombers and Ipswich franchises have been quietly campaigning for a decade, while there has been debate over whether Redcliffe are totally committed to joining the NRL.
As a totally new club, the Bombers would have to grow their fan base from scratch but the fact they are not an Intrust Super Cup team may be an advantage, because they have no deep-seated rivalries with other clubs which would alienate supporters.