Broncos CEO guarantees Bennett will remain coach in 2019
Broncos CEO Paul White on Friday has guaranteed Wayne Bennett will be coaching Brisbane next year.
White reiterated the previous statement by himself and Bennett that no comments on the coaching landscape at Brisbane in 2020 and beyond would be made until the end of the season.
At a press conference at Broncos headquarters, White said there was "no chance" of Bennett being sacked in 2019 and was categorical in his assertion that he would be the coach at Brisbane next year.
"There is no risk to Wayne’s contract at this club in 2019," he said.
White refuted reports the club had explored the possibility of signing Cowboys coach Paul Green, former South Sydney premiership winner Michael Maguire or current Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold.
The Broncos explored bringing Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy to the club for 2020, but White said no other coaches had been approached since.
"The Craig Bellamy issue was a little bit unique," White said.
"He is a marquee coach. He wasn’t under contract and I think you would have all been critical of our club if we didn’t at least reach out and see if there was an opportunity for him to consider coming to our club.
"Once the Craig Bellamy matter was concluded we bunkered down and have endeavoured ever since to respect the process. Yes, we went after one coach, but we haven't gone back into the market since and we are not going to be rushed into that decision."
Bennett has said previously, while passing on a message at a press conference from chairman Karl Morris, that clarity would be given to the public about his post-2019 coaching future after an October board meeting.
White conceded while there was a public appetite to provide an answer on the 2020 coach, he said he would not put a timeline on it.
"Half the coaches in the competition are off contract at the end of 2019. Time's on our side here, we've got 14 months before we need to make a decision on who is coaching our club in 2020," he said.
"Wayne’s in the first year of a two-year contract extension and we are not going to be rushed into making a decision.”
"We have the ability to do some long-term planning and do the right thing in considering all options."
White said there were "a lot of potential candidates" out there but confirmed a hit list had not been drawn up.
He would not "speculate on hypotheticals" when asked whether Bennett would be granted a release to join another club in 2019 if he sought to leave early.
On Wednesday, Bennett was adamant he would not be leaving of his own volition and made it clear he would only exit when told by the hierarchy his time was up.
White said his priority was the final two games of the regular season and the finals.
He said the club wanted to make the most of the closing rounds of the season, including club stalwart Sam Thaiday's final home game.
After the stirring win over South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night, the Broncos are on the verge of locking up a playoff berth.
White also had his say on the media coverage of what has been dubbed "barbecue-gate", when players last Friday went to a barbecue at his place and then left to attend an unplanned function at Bennett's house.
"On the issue of barbecue and staff party at my place, it's been over-reported," he said.
"The players are entitled to support their coach and I don’t see that as a bad thing.
"I'm disappointed they [the players] were drawn into something I don’t consider a big story.
"The players have shown with their actions last night [against South Sydney]. They put on a terrific performance. Within the four walls of this club it is business as usual."