Bennett era over as Brisbane step in
WAYNE Bennett's 25-season reign with Brisbane is reportedly over, with the Broncos terminating the seven-time premiership-coach's contract.
Sunday's sensational move finally ends a month-long standoff between the two parties and paves the way for South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold to take over in Brisbane.
Bennett is set to join the Rabbitohs in 2019, a year earlier than the pair's mooted coaching swap.
The Broncos released a statement on the termination on the club website.
The Bennett era at Brisbane comes to an end. He has not come out of this looking good. The Broncos get one of the best young coaches - and best blokes - in the NRL in Seibold. Broncos’ handling of saga has been horrific. Should have been done weeks ago.— Steve Zemek (@stevezemek) December 2, 2018
"The Brisbane Broncos Board has terminated coach Wayne Bennett's contract with immediate effect.
"The terms of this termination are confidential.
"The Broncos thank him for his contribution to the club and wish him all the best in the future.
"An announcement about the club's coach for the 2019 season will be made soon.
"The Broncos would like to thank members, sponsors, corporate partners, players and staff for their patience and understanding through this period of transition."
South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold had earlier slammed Bennett for refusing to expedite their NRL coaching swap.
In a classic Bennett curve ball, the mooted switch with Seibold stalled again when the Broncos mentor said on Friday he would remain at Red Hill for the final year of his contract.
The announcement arrived just hours before Brisbane were believed to have organised a press conference to welcome Seibold to the role.
The Rabbitohs' coach said he was told by club hierarchy the change would be happening immediately and a clearly fed up Seibold couldn't hide his anger after a month of uncertainty.
"I have had a gutful. I've been sitting here for four weeks and feeling like a punching bag. It's not acceptable and it's not fair," Seibold told the Daily Telegraph.
The reigning NRL coach of the year said the saga had taken a toll on his young family and pointed the finger firmly at Bennett for "playing games".
Bennett had previously denied any contact with South players during but Seibold said the veteran coach had rung Damien Cook, Alex Johnston and Sam Burgess about his plans for the Redfern club before Friday's bombshell.
The veteran Brisbane coach left everyone in complete shock when he announced he wasn't going anywhere.
"Does it look like I'm going anywhere?" Bennett scolded.
When asked where all the drama and speculation had come from, the 68-year-old was characteristically blunt.
"The drama hasn't come from me, it's come from elsewhere," he said.
Bennett said "you'd have to ask" South Sydney if they were disappointed in the result of the lengthy post-season circus but also said being sacked by the Broncos this afternoon "is a possibility".
The bizarre situation left even the South Sydney Rabbitohs in complete shock, with the only way the coaching swap goes through is for the Broncos to sack Bennett.
Bennett said he was committed to reporting for his first official Broncos pre-season training session on Monday but admitted he may yet be sacked by the NRL club.
"There is a possibility. There is always a possibility. I don't know, ask them," Bennett said.
Asked why he was staying, Bennett said: "The players, staff I work with, the fans. I just felt I would be letting them down if I left a year before I should.
"The (immediate) Souths move was never instigated by me," Bennett said. "I did a contract with Souths for 2020 and 2021. We never talked about '19.
"It started when I was overseas (coaching England) and I got drawn into it."
However, it's widely believed the Rabbitohs were originally expecting Bennett to arrive as soon as next week, on time to lead a pre-season camp with a number of their big names returning to training.
- with AAP