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Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.

If Wayne Bennett pursues his stated intention to coach in the NRL beyond next season then he will need to be committed to at least a two or three-year stint at any club he links with.

Bennett has now officially been told he won't be coaching Brisbane in 2020 and understands that a one-year extension was all he sought from the Broncos board.

No NRL coach is signed for one season, so Bennett will need to be ready for the long haul.

It is worth noting that back in May the 68-year-old told reporters at Broncos HQ that he would likely make up his mind if he had the desire to coach in 2020 in the initial stages of next year. He soon amended his public declarations about that, and has repeatedly said since that he already has aspirations to continue beyond 2019.

It would be naïve to assume that a coach who has won seven premierships would not be in demand from a variety of clubs, particularly those starved of premiership success or, like the Gold Coast Titans, that are yet to achieve those heights.  

So where to now for Bennett beyond his final year with Brisbane in 2019?  The answer to that, as Winston Churchill once said, is no doubt a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. But that won't stop the rugby league fraternity taking an educated guess.  

The prospect of reviving the Parramatta Eels' glory days of the 1980s may appeal to Bennett's traditionalist sensibilities. A 'Bennett to Parramatta' scenario would depend initially on how Brad Arthur starts the 2019 season.

Bennett was on the cusp of coaching the Rabbitohs before Nathan Tinkler came to the party to lure him to Newcastle on a mega-deal.

A virtual coaching swap of Bennett to Souths and Anthony Seibold to the Broncos  is a storyline and a half, but it seems unlikely Souths general manager of football Shane Richardson will tread that path again. Richardson and Souths will no doubt be trying to secure Seibold long-term for themselves. understands that Bennett is not averse to the prospect of a short trip down the highway to coach the Gold Coast Titans either. It is not a move that should be dismissed out of hand as it would allow him to stay close to his family in Brisbane and help turn a perennial underachiever into a powerhouse.

On the subject of powerhouses, one significant thing Bennett has achieved during his recent tenure at Brisbane is to lay the foundation for the Broncos to return to premiership winning ways. Under his tutelage the club has developed the likes of David Fifita, Jamayne Isaako, Payne Haas, Kotoni Stags, Jaydn Su'A and Tevita Panga jnr and re-signed all of them long-term, bar Pangai. Bennett's role in ensuring those rising stars agreed to re-sign cannot be overlooked, so the base is there for his successor to inherit a squad with plenty of upside.

A question Broncos fans have often asked reporters this year is: Will Corey Oates, Pangai and Matt Lodge agree to stay at Brisbane? Now those same fans are more worried that that the trio will not re-sign now that Bennett is on the move at the end of 2019.

Pangai stated in a recent interview that his loyalty was first and foremost to Brisbane. That commitment will be tested when his contract renewal gets to the pointy end in November but Bennett's future is unlikely to be determined by then. Oates and Lodge have both declared that they want to stay at Brisbane.

Lodge, in particular, feels as though he owes a considerable debt to Bennett for taking him on but by extension the Broncos as a club also have been good to him.

The future of those three key players will be done and dusted in the coming month, and possibly sooner, but the Broncos may not lose any of them.

The NRL is littered with evidence that public statements by a chairman, a CEO or a coach - while correct at the time -  can soon be overtaken by events  not forecast.

Both the Broncos club, and the coach, have said that Bennett will be on board in 2019 and there is no reason to doubt either party.

For that to change would require Bennett to seek a mutually agreed release to coach elsewhere because the Broncos will not be terminating his deal and paying out $1 million. 

Brisbane legend Steve Renouf said on Tuesday that "Bennett is the Broncos". The first 30 years of the club's history have proven that equation to be on the money.

Bennett's legacy at Brisbane will entail more than the six premierships he has delivered the club. When he took on the role in 1988 he said he wanted to build a club the right way and from the foundations up, and what he created has certainly stood the test of time.

In his latest incarnation as Brisbane coach he has certainly helped ensure the next era will be a prosperous one.  

His next move in the hurly burly of the NRL coaching merry-go-round will be an epic tale that, if the past is anything to go by, will have plenty of unexpected twists and turns before it is resolved.

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