Bennett indicates he could work with Gould at Panthers
Wayne Bennett has given the clearest indication yet that he would be able to work with Penrith supremo Phil Gould as the Broncos mentor fielded questions about his chances of coaching the Panthers in the wake of Anthony Griffin's sacking.
Bennett, off contract at the end of 2019, wants to stay on as Brisbane coach beyond the end of his current tenure, but the Broncos board has not granted that request and a final decision will be reached at a board meeting in October.
The 68-year-old intends to keep coaching whatever their decision, and he has been linked to a possible move to the Panthers in 2019 if they are unsuccessful in securing Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.
Bennett met Gould last week in Sydney where they were both judges on the Immortals panel. NRL.com understands an informal discussion has taken place between the Panthers and Bennett about what on the surface appears an unlikely liaison.
Gould and Bennett are towering figures in the game and were once fierce coaching rivals. How could such dominant personalities co-exist?
That is the question that most pundits have been asking but Bennett, at his weekly press conference at Broncos HQ, outlined the "good" relationship he has with Gould. It turns out that these two "great minds", in a footballing sense, think alike.
"I've had many meetings with Phil over the years. It's good. I enjoy his company," Bennett replied when asked about their relationship.
"He's got a great football head on him and we are not poles apart in the way we feel about the game and the way the game should be played.
"We were competitors for a long time, and that goes with that territory…but we've both moved on from there."
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Bennett was then asked how two "big personalities" could work together.
"It is not an issue ... so let's get through to October and we'll see what happens after that," he said.
The Panthers have made Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary a long-term offer to coach the club but for that to occur the Tigers would need to release Cleary from the final two years of his deal, an action that has been ruled out by Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe.
You could divide Bennett press conferences these days into "a game of two halves". One half on the upcoming game and the other on Bennett's coaching future.
It would be a stretch to say the Broncos coach enjoys the game, but he certainly seems more than prepared to play along with it in his own inscrutable fashion.
That was highlighted when he was asked whether he had received an approach from Penrith.
"The way you guys are going at the moment I am coaching Penrith on Monday, the Broncos on Tuesday, Wests Tigers on Wednesday and probably the Titans on Thursday so I've only got one day off now and that's Friday," Bennett responded.
The question was asked again.
"No I haven't," Bennett said.
You don't rule it out Wayne by the sound of it either?
"I'll tell you again. I am really over the coaching saga altogether but we have made a decision here that in October the board will make their decision," he said.
"I want to be at the Broncos. I want to continue to coach. Everyone knows that, so let's see where it all goes."
Bennett was quizzed on the two clubs he previously mentioned had contacted him, and his answer was that "no club has made contacted with me in that regard … with what has happened in the last 24 or 48 hours."
Bennett, after praising retiring Melbourne star Billy Slater for his achievements and knowing when to call time on his career, said he would retire as a coach when he was also at the top.
"No one is going to be more honest with themselves than I have got to be," Bennett said.
"I have a huge responsibility as a coach for a whole lot of things within a club. I have never lied to myself so I am not going to start now. I feel I know how long I can go on for.
"I am not going to stay a year too long. I am going to be like Billy Slater and go out at the top of my game, but it's not now."