Bennett bombshell: Broncos open to master coach returning
Brisbane chairman Karl Morris has opened the door for Wayne Bennett to make a triumphant return to the Broncos - two years after the pair fell out during Red Hill's bitter civil war.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the prospect of a third Bennett reign at Brisbane is on the table with Morris saying the Broncos board will consider an application for the 70-year-old to return as a coaching director.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail a fortnight ago, Bennett has not ruled out a comeback to the Broncos, with the super coach open to the notion of taking on an overseer's role to head up Brisbane's football program next season.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
There was a sentiment Bennett had burned his bridges with Broncos bosses for life following the toxic upheaval that led to his sacking in 2018 as part of a coaching swap with Anthony Seibold.
But as the Broncos launch a search for Seibold's successor, Morris revealed he has no lingering bad blood with Bennett and would not oppose the return of the foundation coach who delivered all six of Brisbane's premierships.
"If the board decided they wanted Wayne back, it would be considered," Morris said.
"Look, if there was a serious proposal put forward for Wayne Bennett to come back to the Broncos, I will put it to the board.
"At the end of the day, I don't hold grudges.
"My job as chairman is to do the best thing by the Broncos first and foremost. The board is there to provide governance on what is in the best interests of the Broncos and we view matters through that lens.
"For me personalities are taken out. It's what's in the best interests of the club moving forward."
Bennett is off-contract at Souths coach at the end of next year, but the Rabbitohs would not stand in the way of the veteran mentor leaving 12 months earlier if he could secure longer-term employment elsewhere.
Ironically, it was Morris who offered Bennett a high-powered role at the Broncos in July 2018 before negotiations turned sour.
In a personal letter to Bennett, Morris outlined his plan for an "elegant transition" from coaching to administration and the chairman even offered for the seven-time premiership winner to define any new job.
At the time, Bennett was determined to be a head coach, but under his own succession plan, he was due to stand down as Broncos coach for the 2021 season.
Despite his painful exit from Red Hill, Bennett still cares about the Broncos and believes he could restore the club's glory days driving team culture. If the Broncos appoint Kevin Walters as head coach next season, Bennett could be a valuable sounding board for his former assistant.
Morris said Bennett returning for a third time had some obstacles, but confirmed he suggested a senior administrative position two years ago.
"To be honest, we had offered Wayne this sort of role (coaching directorship)," he said.
"I gave him a letter offering him a role at the club beyond coaching.
"We will have a new CEO and a new coach in the coming months and they will also have a mature view of what they want on board.
"The Broncos are about progress. Naturally I would find it difficult for Wayne to come back because it would be his third stint at the club, but it's not for me alone to rule anyone out."
Former Broncos skipper Justin Hodges has urged the club to bring Bennett home.
"I would love to see Wayne come back," he said.
"To get the glory days back, I think Wayne is the perfect coaching director. He knows the culture of the club better than anyone.
"Having Wayne back will give the Broncos that authority again.
"He is the master of keeping players and making them happy."
Originally published as Bennett bombshell: Broncos open to master coach returning