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'Good piece of business': Demetriou to take Bennett's place

Jason Demetriou will take over the reins from Wayne Bennett as head coach at the end of 2021 in a succession plan football chief Shane Richardson hailed "a good piece of club business".

Richardson confirmed to that he would also be stepping down from his role as general manager of football at the end of 2021 but has no intention of retiring. contacted Bennett who said he was not commenting on today's announcement, but the 70-year-old does intend to coach on beyond his current term.

It was always the intention of the Rabbitohs to organise a succession plan for Bennett well in advance of his three-year deal expiring. Bennett had input into the decision.

"When Wayne was originally hired we sat down and talked about a succession plan because we didn’t want to have the fiasco that went on at Brisbane," Richardson told

South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou.
South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou. ©NRL Photos

"We did a really good search and decided to employ Jason as an assistant. He's got an outstanding coaching record and we've had 15 months to have a look at him as a bloke and as a coach and we liked what we saw, so we decided to formalise it.

"John Lang always talks about how you've got to do your apprenticeship and Jason has done his apprenticeship.

"He deserves his chance and it is a great thing for us for him to take over after learning from Wayne.

It is a really good thing ... to have a guy like Jason Demetriou take over

Shane Richardson

"He's very loyal to Wayne and now we have a succession plan for him to take over when Wayne leaves, and Wayne is very happy with it. So it is a win-win and I think a good piece of club business."

As a head coach Demetriou won an Intrust Super Cup and State Championship title with the Northern Pride in 2014 before taking on the Cowboys assistant coach role at North Queensland in 2015 under Paul Green in another title-winning year.

He then went to the St George Illawarra Dragons where he was head coach of the Illawarra Cutters in 2016 where he also won NSW Cup and State Championship titles.

Demetriou was Bennett's assistant at Brisbane in 2017 and 2018 before joining him at Redfern ahead of last year’s campaign.

Richardson is a big believer in promoting coaches from within.

"You have got to set up an ethos about what your club is really about," he said.

"We want to be about players coming through the ranks and we call that 'the club of choice', and it is also about our staff being able to go on and you've seen a lot of our staff being promoted internally.

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"We have got a lot of good staff at the moment with [football manager]  Mark Ellison and [head of football operations] Brock Schaefer, and obviously [CEO] Blake Solly is doing a good job as well.

"It is all about succession planning. I will be leaving the club at the end of 2021 as well and we are planning for that."

Richardson has told club owner Russell Crowe he would be finishing up at the end of 2021.

"I've been 17 years at Souths and 27 years in the NRL. I won't be retiring I can assure you but we all want the club to be set up to be successful," Richardson said.

"I have still got the passion and desire in me and hopefully we can win another premiership or two here at Souths. That is my main concern."

With the recruitment of Latrell Mitchell, the Rabbitohs now have a star-studded backline, and a pack opponents underestimate at their peril.

"We couldn’t ask for a better backline and people underestimate our forwards," Richardson said.

"A couple have got to go up another level and I am sure they will. I think Liam Knight and Tom Burgess will go up another level.

"The great thing is that the players, staff and whole club love Wayne and it is a really good thing moving forward to have a guy like Jason Demetriou take over when he finishes."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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