Wayne Bennett Souths, when will they meet, NRL expansion plans, Perth team, who will coach, press conference, rugby league news

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In typical Wayne Bennett fashion, the legendary coach is not giving much away about his link with South Sydney and when he will next meet with the struggling club to work out the terms of a potential contract from 2025.

Bennett is heavily tipped to take over as head coach of the Rabbitohs from next season, with reports circulating that he will meet with club powerbrokers during next week’s Magic Round.

When this was put to Bennett, the 74-year-old responded: “Who said it was Magic Round? I said (last week) it was this week.

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“We’re going to work on it.

‘Sooner or later you’ll find out. You don’t have to worry.”

Bennett was then asked about the NRL’s possible expansion plans and whether, as he did with the Dolphins, he could be the coach of another new team for its inaugural season.

The AAPs Joel Gould said that because of the impending deal with Souths, “it doesn’t look like you’re going to do that, does it?”

“Joel, don’t write me off for anything, will you. Just let it all unfold and see where it goes and we’ll see where the expansion team comes in and what year it comes in,” Bennett replied.

Bennett then said he believes a Perth club should be “one of” the teams next in line for an NRL licence.

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“I’ve never spoken to Perth about doing anything with them, but I think Perth should be one of the expansion teams,” Bennett said.

“In the next ten years we will have twenty teams in the competition. Australia is getting bigger every day. That is how it works.

“They are very aware of rugby league now and have had a lot of teams and Origin games there.

“A lot of people move to Perth from all over the world, but there are certainly a lot of Australians, English and New Zealanders who know rugby league.

“It’s a huge income area. They have some of the largest businesses in Australia in Perth and Western Australia. It all kind of makes sense, and they have great facilities.”

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Wayne Bennett was coy when asked about his next meeting with Souths.Source: FOX SPORTS

Gould then told Bennett that the time difference in Perth would lend itself well to broadcasters, but the super coach did not want to discuss the matter much further.

“Yes, that’s right. It all fits in well. Anyway, why are we talking about this today, Joel?” said Bennett.

“Who knows (if I am involved in the expansion). Who really knows.

“We don’t even know when the next expansion will come. We know it’s coming, but we don’t know when or where, so let’s worry about when it happens.”

It seems like a foregone conclusion that Bennett will leave the Dolphins after his contract expires at the end of the season, but according to CEO Terry Reader, that was always the plan.

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Reader said there is no ill will at the club towards Bennett potentially joining another team from next year, given everything Bennett has done to “set the Dolphins up for the future”.

Bennett will be succeeded as head coach by assistant Kristian Woolf.

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‘Nothing has changed for us. For us, it was always part of the plan for Wayne to finish this season and Wayne was part of setting up (this club),” Reader said Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s probably the mark of the man because when we set it up he didn’t know if he wanted to continue coaching in 2025 and rather than looking at extending his stay it was about putting the right people in place .

“We have Kristian (Woolf) in which Wayne was part of the deployment, so from our point of view nothing has changed. It always ended at the end of 2024.

“As you saw last weekend (win over Cowboys), there is no distraction from our side and the club keeps running and Wayne keeps doing his job.

“When we were setting things up, Wayne was part of it and as he said, ‘I’d be 75 in 2025 and I don’t know if I want to coach every day.’ He also wanted to make sure the club was ready for the future so he didn’t leave us in the dark and ensure we could get the assistant coach we wanted to take over.

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“It’s probably the mark of the man that there was no selfishness. It was about making sure that whatever happened, the club was set up to succeed.”

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