Wayne Bennett in shock talks to end 17-year Origin hiatus — and it all hinges on the Broncos gig
Wayne Bennett in shock talks to end 17-year Origin hiatus — and it all hinges on the Broncos gig

Bennett in shock talks to end 17-year Origin hiatus

Wayne Bennett is poised to make a shock return as Queensland Maroons coach for the 2020 State of Origin series should Kevin Walters get the vacant Broncos position.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Bennett is in discussions with the Queensland Rugby League to answer an SOS at short notice to stop the Blues from winning three series on the trot.

Current Maroons coach and Bennett's former skipper at the Broncos Kevin Walters is the favourite to edge out Paul Green for Anthony Seibold's former Brisbane post.

 

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Bennett last coached the Maroons from 2001 to 2003 after previously having held the job from 1986 to 1988 and for one series in 1998.

The Rabbitohs mentor has coached Queensland to 11 wins, 10 losses and one draw in his 22 games to date.

South Sydney have reportedly given the 70-year-old their blessing should he want to coach the Maroons after the Rabbitohs 2020 season comes to an end.

Bennett could face off against some of his stars at club level in Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell should he take the Queensland gig.

The developments come as Seibold is set to confirm his immediate departure from the Broncos on Wednesday morning to players and coaches.

Intriguingly if Walters takes the reins at the Broncos, Green is another option to coach Queensland if Bennett doesn't try to win a sixth Origin series.

It is believed the short off-season and looming Broncos clean-out would make it too difficult for Walters to coach Queensland, while undertaking a rebuild at Red Hill.

 

A victorious Maroons coach Wayne Bennett in 2001 with Allan Langer.
A victorious Maroons coach Wayne Bennett in 2001 with Allan Langer.

The 2021 pre-season is slated for a November 9 start date and the first of three Origin games starts on November 4, which would make juggling both positions nearly impossible.

The QRL believe Walters would be too busy with his commitments at the Broncos should he take the job, which would require a hands-on approach from their last game of the season on September 24.

 

Wayne Bennett with Adam Reynolds at Rabbitohs training.
Wayne Bennett with Adam Reynolds at Rabbitohs training.

"Kevin Walters is contracted until the end of 2021, and if he is coach of Queensland we would want 100 per cent out of him," QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"If Kevvie can be 100 per cent committed to Origin this year than we see no reason why he couldn't coach Queensland if we've got him fully committed to us and not the Broncos.

"Our responsibility is to do the best for Queensland and State of Origin, not the Broncos. We can't and won't be compromised on that."

 

 

 

Originally published as Bennett in shock talks to end 17-year Origin hiatus - and it all hinges on the Broncos gig


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