Bennett's eye as sharp as ever
Wayne Bennett knows that while ever he has the motivation to train himself he has the desire to mentor those young men under his wing.
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Whether it's running or doing weights, Bennett never misses a day of training and those closest to him – and the sneakers on his feet – can attest to the fact that in his 40th year of coaching there are no signs he is slowing down.
Invited back into the fold at Red Hill after three years of losing seasons under Anthony Griffin, Bennett was initially signed to a three-year tenure but had that extended early last year to take him through until the end of the 2019 season.
Broncos chairman Dennis Watt was integral in getting Bennett back to the Broncos three years ago and while he refused to declare that he had a job as long as he wants it says the game's most successful coach remains as motivated as ever.
"He's clearly closer to the end of his coaching career than he is the start but right at the minute he seems to be on top of his game," Watt told NRL.com.
"He seems to be coaching with a lot of enthusiasm. He talks about knowing when the time will be right and he talks about having an eye for coaching. That's giving it 100 per cent and enjoying what he's doing. He's out there doing all the hard sessions, he's out in the field, doing the video.
"It was always going to be year by year and as he said, whether he still had the eye for it."
Injured Broncos skipper Darius Boyd came into first grade as an 18-year-old under Bennett in 2006 and has played every one of his 266 NRL games to date under him.
The pair have developed a relationship beyond player and coach and Boyd said even he wasn't sure whether Bennett would coach beyond the three years he originally agreed to when he returned to Red Hill in 2015.
"I wasn't sure when he first re-signed here whether he'd re-sign again but he extended his deal and I think everyone's loved having him here since he's been back," Boyd said.
"Obviously the culture around the place and the camaraderie around the group has been great and that's a big thing that Wayne always drives.
"Only Wayne really knows the answer to [when he will finish] but while ever he's enjoying it and loves coming to work every day then I don't see him giving it up anytime soon."
In 31 seasons of coaching in the premiership Bennett-coached teams have missed finals football only five times and his influence is an undoubted trump card for a team struggling through a minor injury crisis of their own.
Taking the reins at Souths in the Brisbane Rugby League competition in 1977 where the side finished with the wooden spoon, Bennett took them to the grand final two years later and after three years at Brothers went back to Souths where he guided them to a grand final in 1984 and a premiership a year later.
Since serving alongside Don Furner as co-coaches of the Raiders in 1987 Bennett has been a part of 32 finals wins including seven grand final wins and starts his side's 2017 finals campaign against the Roosters on Friday night.
Boyd doesn't know where the journey will end but laughed off the suggestion they might both end their respective careers at the same time.
"Imagine the headline if we did. I'd get bagged even more," Boyd told NRL.com.
"I'm looking forward to finishing my career here and whether that's with Wayne the whole time or Wayne finishes up before me or not I've been very lucky to have Wayne throughout my whole career.
"He's done a lot for me on and off the field and it will be a sad day for football for sure when he retires.
"While ever we're enjoying it and playing well I don't see Wayne giving it up anytime soon."