Outgoing Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett says he won't be in the right headspace immediately after Sunday's grand final loss to make a call on his coaching future.
Bennett will be replaced by current assistant Jason Demetriou next year but has indicated many times he doesn't feel he is finished as an NRL coach, with a possible Brisbane expansion team widely touted as a potential next destination.
"I wasn't looking for a fairytale ending – I'm not finished yet, I haven't told anyone I've retired from coaching," Bennett said, after his Rabbitohs fell 14-12 to Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.
"I've made no choices yet … when I know what the plan is I'll let you know. There's something formulating in my mind but I don't know what it is yet.
"I have a number of options on the table and I don't know what I'll do, or what I won't do, right now.
"Today is not a good day and tomorrow won't be a good day with the state of mind I'll be in to make decisions about my future," he said.
"I'll sit off a couple of weeks but I respect enormously Souths and what they've done for me. So I won't do anything without talking to Souths first and foremost and we'll see where it goes from there."
Match Highlights: Panthers v Rabbitohs
In a hard-fought decider there were some crucial errors made by the Rabbitohs but the effort – particularly in defence – of both sides was outstanding and Bennett repeatedly refused to find fault with any individual player or error.
He was particularly strong in his support of five-eighth Cody Walker, who he has praised heavily of late, with the 31-year-old producing one of the great grand final tries to go with a crucial intercept pass to Penrith before bouncing back to help set up his side's only other try.
"How many tries has he set up this year, how many times have we seen that happen?" Bennett asked.
"I've coached some wonderful players, they’ve all thrown an intercept try from time to time, it's just something that happened and we can't do anything about it now.
"I know how many great plays he's made for us so I wasn't going to condemn him for one moment.
"He knows I'm not blaming him, I've got no blame on him whatsoever. He's a grown man, it's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, you just have to handle it. There's no soft landing with this stuff.
"He's done so many wonderful things for us so for one moment in one game this year, I can live with that. He'll live with it and still be a wonderful player next year."
Bennett lauds Murray after another immense performance
Bennett also had some praise for lock and likely 2022 captain Cam Murray, who put in a monumental stint in the middle.
"He was outstanding, he was exhausted on that many occasions but he's got a great ticker and great heart," Bennett said.
"They kept turning up; I thought defensively we were very good because we had to be … we just kept turning up.
Heroic Rabbitohs: A disappointment, not a regret says Bennett
"It was a great crowd and the atmosphere was great out there, it was a wonderful night and the football for a grand final was worthy of it and the effort by both teams was outstanding," he said.
"Penrith did a great job on us with the field position and they played their hearts out. I had a team that played their hearts out, I couldn’t have asked for more from my guys physically.
"I can't be critical of them. You go through life and you have regrets and you have disappointments and this is a disappointment tonight, I didn't regret anything. The way we got to this game, the effort we put into the game, we lost by two points."