BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Broncos coach Wayne Bennett speaks to media after the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Broncos coach Wayne Bennett speaks to media after the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Broncos players plead for star coach Bennett to stay

BRONCOS players have appealed for coach Wayne Bennett to be spared the axe in wake of Brisbane's finals debacle against the Dragons.

The Broncos were licking their wounds on Mad Monday following one of the worst finals losses in the club's rich 30-year history.

The 48-18 defeat to St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon was Brisbane's equal second biggest loss in 59 finals appearances and their heaviest finals defeat at home.

The 30-point drubbing turned up the heat on Bennett who is fighting to save his job at Red Hill following 25 seasons in charge of the Broncos.

Bennett is not expected to earn a contract extension. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images.
Bennett is not expected to earn a contract extension. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Bennett, 68, is contracted until the end of next season, however Broncos power brokers will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the seven-time premiership winner's future at the club.

While CEO Paul White has guaranteed Bennett his job for 2019, that could change given the volatility of the NRL coaching circus and whether another club chases Bennett's signature.

Bennett is at long odds to be granted an extension to coach the Broncos in 2020 and centre James Roberts appealed for the club to not punt him.

"He is the only reason why I came here (from the Titans in 2016)," Roberts said.

"I'm sure he will be here. I hope he will be here.

"I love playing under him and the boys I'm playing with at the moment. We've got a special side here.

"It's a bit disappointing with the result, but I'm really excited for next year, the young blokes to stand up and for the injured blokes to come back."

It was a rough end to Brisbane’s season. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.
It was a rough end to Brisbane’s season. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.

The Broncos washed away their tears by drinking beer in the middle of Suncorp Stadium after the loss and held private post-season celebrations on Monday.

Retiring legend Sam Thaiday delivered a farewell speech to the team during the post-game debrief, but Bennett was unusually silent throughout the gathering.

"Wayne didn't say anything to be honest, it was very unusual," Thaiday said.

"Most of the players had a bit of time to reflect and say a few words."

Bennett has been at the helm for all six of Brisbane's premiership triumphs and won a seventh title at the Dragons in 2010.

Thaiday was adamant Bennett would coach the Broncos in 2019 in what shapes as his final season at the club.

Could next season be Bennett’s last in the NRL? AAP Image/Dave Hunt.
Could next season be Bennett’s last in the NRL? AAP Image/Dave Hunt.

"He'll still be here next year," he said.

"He will see out his contract with the club.

"I hope the boys can send him out on a fairytale, it'd be fantastic.

"The young guys that got their chance to debut this year are going to be bigger and better for it next year.

"When we've had injured players, there's been young guys come in and do the job.

"I'm excited to be a Broncos fan next year, watch them and see how they go."



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