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'All the doors are open': Wayne comfortable with whatever future holds

Wayne Bennett still isn't sure what's next in his fabled career but has declared "all the doors are open".

The 71-year-old will step aside as Rabbitohs coach at the end of the season but has reiterated his desire to take on another job.

Asked whether he would be interested in returning to Queensland's State of Origin set-up in 2022, Bennett didn't rule anything out.

"I'm at a stage where all the doors are open. I have no idea what the future holds for me at the moment," Bennett said on Saturday.

"Obviously, I think I've got a future somewhere but I've just got to see how it unfolds and I'm not worried about it.

"At the end of footy season, I'll look at what options are around and the possibilities for me and where I think I can make a difference. And if I can then I'll make the decision."

Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs - Round 16

Maroons selector Billy Slater has led calls for Bennett, who masterminded one of the great Origin upsets last year, to rejoin Queensland's ranks after they were humiliated in back-to-back games.

Slater wants Bennett to help Paul Green, with the QRL expecting to activate their second-year contract option for the current mentor.

It's also been suggested that Bennett could coach a second Brisbane NRL team in 2023 if a Sunshine State bid is chosen for expansion.

But while the seven-time premiership winner will live in Queensland after finishing with South Sydney, he confirmed to News Corp last week that he won't pursue a return to the Broncos.

Elsewhere, Bennett endorsed Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds as the perfect candidate to replace Nathan Cleary for NSW.

A partially dislocated shoulder will sideline Cleary for 4-6 weeks, so the Blues need another general as they chase a series sweep.

And in 30-year-old Reynolds, who played two Origins without a win in 2016, Bennett believes they have a like-for-like replacement.

Eels No.7 Mitch Moses is another leading contender while NSW could also promote Jack Wighton into the starting side.

"[Adam brings] great stability, he'd stick to the game-plan and help everybody else play really well, what he does here for us," Bennett said.

"There are no weaknesses in his game. He's got a great kicking game and he'd pick up where Cleary left off. It'd be a natural fit.

"It's a different game now [but] they'll still want to win it. They'll put every effort into winning it, but with the series [won] and going into the third game, it depends what they're looking for.

"They might be looking for someone for the future. [But] Adam Reynolds will not let anybody down. Everyone knows how he plays and sees him play, so that's up to them now."

Reynolds' experience could be his trump card over the uncapped Moses with Blues advisor Greg Alexander telling that "it's all about winning, it's not about looking to the future".

Meanwhile, Bennett is expecting a "much improved" Wests Tigers outfit to test his fourth-placed Rabbitohs on Sunday afternoon.

That's despite the Tigers having conceded 106 points in their past two matches against Parramatta and Melbourne.

South Sydney came away with a thrilling 18-14 golden-point victory through a Tom Burgess try when they met the Tigers in round six.

"There's a very healthy rivalry between Souths and the Tigers. We played them earlier in the season when they were going pretty well and they were very formidable then," Bennett said.

Match Highlights: Broncos v Rabbitohs

"I've got to assume they'll be very formidable again."

With the match being at Leichhardt Oval, Bennett quipped that he'd "try and stay away" from local restaurant Grappa, where he was caught dining in breach of the NRL's COVID protocols last year.

"Just keep an eye on me - just keep a camera there in case, will you? I could just finish up there if I get a bit hungry," he laughed.

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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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