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Rabbitohs props Tom and George Burgess.

Wayne Bennett's arrival at South Sydney is set to have an impact on the futures of English forwards George and Tom Burgess and a number of other Rabbitohs stars coming off contract next season as he is expected to bring players with him.

With 2014 premiership-winning captain John Sutton still unsigned for next season and a dozen other players off contract in 2019, it will be up to Bennett to decide who he wants to keep regardless of whether he joins the club next season or the following year.

Bennett signed a two-year contract with the Rabbitohs from 2020 and insists he wants to see out his remaining season in charge of Brisbane but that may change after a Broncos board meeting on Tuesday, which is expected to ratify the appointment of Anthony Seibold.

While Seibold is still contracted to Souths for next season, most believe he and Bennett should swap roles immediately as they will have one eye on their new job.

However, the mission to secure Bennett for 2020 happened so quickly, with the first contact between the master coach and the club being a phone conversation with Souths GM of football Shane Richardson just over a week ago, that the Rabbitohs insist they have not discussed whether he should come a year early. 

Bennett managed to serve out the final season of his Broncos contract before joining St George Illawarra in 2009 and he was still heavily involved in recruitment decisions for the Dragons while coaching Brisbane.

Darius Boyd and Nick Emmett followed Bennett from Brisbane, while he recruited former Broncos stars Luke Priddis and Neville Costigan and signed Nathan Fien and Jeremy Smith, who had played under him in New Zealand's 2008 World Cup winning team.

Wayne Bennett.
Wayne Bennett. ©

He also allowed Jason Ryles and Josh Morris to leave the club before his arrival.

However, the circumstances of Bennett's departure from Brisbane are different this time as the club called time on him and pursued Melbourne's Craig Bellamy before identifying Seibold from a short-list that also included Kevin Walters, Michael Maguire and Jason Demetriou.

If he was to move to Souths immediately, there are few players Bennett could bring with him as Tevita Pangai jnr has declared his commitment to the club for next season and Matt Lodge is believed to be close to finalising a new two-year deal.

Pangai jnr is a player he would be keen to recruit in 2020 and fellow Tongan forward Joe Ofahengaue is also off contract next season, along with second-rower Alex Glenn.

Junior Kangaroos fullback Corey Allan is already moving from Brisbane to Souths next season.

The Rabbitohs have a large number of players off-contract next season, including George and Tom Burgess, Damien Cook, Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham, Braidon Burns, Mark Nicholls and Kyle Turner.

Sutton is expected to finalise a deal for next season, while it is believed winger Robert Jennings has re-signed or is close to doing so. Jennings's brother George is set to remain at Parramatta.

NRL Telstra premiership draw 2019

Bennett is currently preparing the England team, which includes the Burgess twins, for this weekend's opening Test against New Zealand in Hull and South Sydney officials are expected to discuss plans for next season and beyond once Seibold is confirmed as the Broncos coach.

The Burgess brothers, including Sam, have a close relationship with Bennett and will be keen to play under him at Redfern, while he and Souths captain Greg Inglis have long wanted to work together.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire is also finalising his future after agreeing to a three-year deal with Wests Tigers on Thursday night and the club is now believed to be negotiated the terms of Ivan Cleary's release to Penrith.

Cleary is understood to have already agreed to a three-year contract with the Panthers from 2021 and the two clubs have been finalising a deal that would enable him to take charge next season. An announcement is expected on the weekend or early next week.

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