Bennett hits out at ‘crazy’ coaching speculation
WAYNE Bennett has broken his silence on his future with the Rabbitohs super coach ruling out a move to New Zealand and insisting he will not walk out on South Sydney.
Bennett on Tuesday expressed surprise at reports linking him to the Warriors in the wake of the New Zealand club's shock decision to sever ties with Stephen Kearney.
Kearney was a former assistant to Bennett at the Broncos and his sacking triggered revelations that the Warriors had been approached by a third-party purporting to represent the 70-year-old South Sydney coach.
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 >
Bennett is contracted to the Rabbitohs until the end of 2021, but that has not stopped the coaching rumour mill going into overdrive linking the seven-time premiership-winner to the Warriors, Dragons and Bulldogs.
As he prepares for Thursday night's clash against the Panthers at Campbelltown, Bennett revealed family reasons - he helps care for his disabled son Justin - are among the factors in his commitment to Souths.
"I'm not going to New Zealand," Bennett said.
"I have family commitments in Australia with my son Justin, how can I go overseas when I have to help look after him? I don't see Justin enough as it is.
"One minute it's the Warriors, then it's the Bulldogs, next I will be coaching at the Cowboys.
"It's crazy stuff ... I must be the busiest coach in the NRL."
Bennett, who signed a three-year deal with Souths to replace Anthony Seibold in October 2018, says coaching in New Zealand has never been on his radar.
"Someone may well have contacted the Warriors about me, who knows, but I can tell you right now that I have not spoken to anyone from New Zealand and I have no plans to," he said.
"The Steve Kearney decision came totally out of the blue, no-one in the game saw it coming. Even Steve didn't see it until they called him about it.
"Even if the Warriors approached me, it would be a straight 'No' anyway."
Bennett plans to pass the baton at Souths to his current assistant Jason Demetriou, who will launch his NRL head-coaching career at Souths in 2022.
Under Bennett, the Rabbitohs fell one game short of last year's grand final and are shooting for their third consecutive win this week against the in-form Panthers.
The Brisbane icon was sensationally sacked by the Broncos 18 months ago following a political war at Red Hill but says he won't be knifed by the Rabbitohs.
"I'm very happy at Souths," he said.
"The Rabbitohs want me to stay and there are no ifs or buts there, they won't do to me what the Broncos did to me.
"Everybody is really happy at South Sydney, I've got good relationships here with the players and we are building towards something."