Bennett’s ultimatum: Back me or sack me
WAYNE Bennett is refusing to fall on his sword and quit Brisbane following explosive revelations the Broncos have made a secret $5.6 million approach to Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Bennett will adopt a back-me-or-sack-me stance as Brisbane hierarchy formulate plans to bring his former assistant Bellamy back to Red Hill.
The Courier-Mail last month exclusively revealed Bellamy was open to a return to the Broncos, with the Storm mentor admitting he had not closed the door on one day coaching the famous club.
Now the pursuit of Bellamy is real. The Broncos have not formally tabled a deal but have discussed a four-year arrangement with Bellamy worth $1.4 million a season - the richest coaching contract in NRL history.
Bennett declined to comment when contacted on Tuesday night. But the Broncos coach has heard whispers about the Bellamy poaching bid for the past two weeks, casting uncertainty over his future at Red Hill.
Bennett and Broncos chief executive Paul White will front the media at Wednesday's captain's run to address the Bellamy bombshell that has rocked the club on the eve of Thursday night's clash against the Eels.
It can be revealed Bennett will not walk away of his own volition this season. The 68-year-old is off-contract at the end of next year and plans to see out his current deal - unless the Broncos board moves to sack him.
One sticking point is the timing of Bellamy's potential return to the Broncos. If Brisbane opt to honour Bennett's current deal, Bellamy, should he shun Melbourne's offer, faces the prospect of a 12-month sabbatical before taking charge of the Broncos in 2020.
Well-placed sources at Melbourne say the Storm are keen to secure Bellamy to a three-year extension, but have been blindsided by the four-year mega-deal being proposed by the Broncos.
Brisbane's largest private shareholder Phil Murphy said he is not aware of any formal approach to Bellamy, but believes he would be an ideal choice to succeed Bennett.
"He is a superstar coach," Murphy said.
"I haven't heard about Brisbane approaching Bellamy, but if the club moves Wayne on or he decides to go, Craig is the best option on the market.
"If Wayne goes, as a shareholder, I would fully support getting Craig."
The Broncos tried to poach Bellamy to replace Dragons-bound Bennett in 2008, only for the deal to collapse. Last month, Bellamy told The Courier-Mail he was open to an offer from the Broncos.
"To say I would never coach the Broncos ... I wouldn't say that," he said.
"You never know what's going to happen in life. A couple of times I said I would retire and here I am, I'm still coaching.
"I wouldn't rule any option out. To be honest, the way Wayne is going, he might outlast me."