Wayne Bennett says he will consider coaching another NRL club if he’s replaced by Craig Bellamy at Brisbane.
Bennett, 68, said he still felt he had plenty to offer and wanted to stay at the Broncos after his contract expires at the end of 2019 but revealed he had recommended the Broncos speak to off-contract Melbourne coach Bellamy.
Brisbane CEO Paul White confirmed he had had discussions with Bellamy about replacing 68-year-old Bennett in 2020 after clearing it with the veteran Broncos mentor.
White and Bennett fronted the media on Wednesday after a report that Brisbane were ready to table a four-year deal worth more than $5 million for Bellamy to make a switch as early as 2019.
Seven time premiership coach Bennett said he would not be defined by his age and would consider other offers if he was forced out of the Broncos.
“There is a factor with health and age for me. I have to make sure I am capable of doing the job,” Bennett said.
I feel great now and I won’t be defined by my age. But if the club doesn’t see that is relevant I will coach somewhere else.”
Bennett categorically ruled out sharing the Broncos reins with Bellamy next year.
“It’s just not going to happen,” he said. “But I initiated it (the Broncos’ talks with Bellamy). You have to be a bit honest in life.
“And I don’t want it unfolding unless I have some control over it – I have spent 25 years of my life here.”
Bennett hinted that he would make a decision on his long-term future early next year.
“That would be an appropriate time for me. Physically I have to make sure I am in good health but at this point in my life I feel I have a lot to offer,” Bennett said.
“I don’t want to (go to another club) but if that happens then I will consider it – I have already got a couple of offers.
“I want to stay here and also I want to do the right thing by the club.”
White said he had asked Bennett for permission to talk to Bellamy but did not let the Broncos coach know when he had conducted the discussions.
“It would have been good to know (when White spoke to Bellamy) but we all have busy schedules,” Bennett said.
White threw his support behind Bennett as 2019 coach.
“I want to state categorically that Wayne is our coach for 2019. I have had discussions with Craig Bellamy but there are no contract negotiations,” he said.
“There is media alluding to the fact that Wayne didn’t have knowledge of the conversation but I wouldn’t have engaged in that without first telling him.”
White said they would wait for a response from Bellamy, who has been offered a three-year extension by the Storm.