Wayne Bennett - The man everyone has an opinion about
MENTION the name Wayne Bennett and chances are everyone will have an opinion about him. Bennett's rise from the police force to rugby league super coach is a fascinating one. He grew up in a tough rural environment in the small township of Allora near Warwick. His alcoholic father walked out on him and his two brothers and two sisters when he was just 11.
Bennett vowed if he had children of his own - he has three - they would not go through what his siblings endured growing up without their father.
Two of Bennett's children were born with disabilities and providing them with a secure future has been the most important thing in his life.
They are why, after six years away from his wife and family, he is coming home to where his journey to seven NRL premierships began in 1988, launched by the stubbornness of four wise men - Paul Morgan, Barry Maranta, Gary Balkin and Steve Williams - who noticed something extra special in him as a young coach.
Balkin said that as much as the Broncos wanted Bennett, they new it was going to be tough to get him away from the nation's capital because he had such a great team of young players.
"He loved a lot of those boys. A lot of them were from his Souths side in Brisbane - players like Mal Meninga, Peter Jackson ... Gary Belcher. They turned out to be Queensland and Australian fixtures," Balkin said.
"He'd brought them up from kids but he had to turn his back on them to come back to Brisbane.
"But Wayne could see history with the Broncos and he could also look after his family the way he wanted.
"He ended up costing us much more than we thought we would have to pay, but fellas like Jack Gibson were on much more - and so they should have been."
Bennett's decision this week to return to the club he helped build, and which he took to six premierships in 21 years, sparked enormous debate between former and current players, fans and even rival coaches.
Many came out in support of present coach Anthony Griffin, who has been told his time is up.
Was signing Wayne Bennett a good idea for the Brisbane Broncos?
This poll ended on 27 July 2014.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.