South Sydney has confirmed that Wayne Bennett will take over as head coach at Redfern from the 2020 season.
The Brisbane Broncos announced last month that they would not offer Bennett a contract to extend his tenure beyond the end of 2019 – by which time the veteran coach will have racked up 26 seasons in two stints at Red Hill.
The club and the seven-time premiership coach, who has won six titles at the Broncos, agreed he would see out his contract with Brisbane.
However, speculation has not subsided over a possible merry-go-round in the NRL coaching scene, involving a potential swap of Bennett and his Souths counterpart Anthony Seibold.
South Sydney confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Bennett would be at Redfern for 2020 and 2021, at least.
Souths’ general manager of football Shane Richardson said in a statement that the signing was a fillip for the club.
“Wayne is one of the best, if the not the best, rugby league coaches of all time and we are excited to see what he can bring to our club,” he said.
“His football record is second to none and his reputation as a leader is also of the highest order.
“Here he will have the opportunity to work with some of the best senior and up-and-coming talent in the game, which from our discussions over the past few weeks I know he is excited about.”
Rabbitohs sign Wayne Bennett as Head Coach for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) October 25, 2018
The Queensland-born Seibold is set to coach a second season with Souths in 2019, after he led the team to third spot on the ladder in his inaugural year before a preliminary final loss to eventual premiers Sydney Roosters.
“Anthony [Seibold] has done a great job at our club over the past two years, however his hesitance to extend his contract with us, an offer which has been on the table since June, led the club to explore other options,” Richardson said.
“We’re looking forward to Wayne becoming a Rabbitoh in 12 months’ time and we wish him the best of luck with the England team in their current Test series with the Kiwis.
“Now we can look forward to season 2019 with the aim of improving our performance on the 2018 season.”
Brisbane has made no comment about the announcement, or given any indication who its coach might be from 2020.