Bennett keen to return as Queensland coach if Walters walks


“It’s about Queensland. I’ve done so much coaching up there, nothing has changed for me.

“At this point there has been no approach, so that’s the first part I want to make clear.

“I have always been committed to rugby league in Queensland since I got into coaching. Besides coaching Origin, I’ve done a lot of stuff in regards to Queensland Academy of Sport programs, a lot of stuff prior to that, I’ve coached Queensland under-18s.

My commitment has been total to Queensland. That’s important to me.

Wayne Bennett

“I coached first grade for eight years before the national competition came along. I gave up my job in Canberra to come home and coach the Broncos.

“My commitment has been total to Queensland. That’s important to me.

“To cut a long story short, the bottom line is if they thought I was the best and Kevin moved on and wasn’t able to do it, I’d certainly look at it.”

While the QRL has other alternatives, no one has the experience or gravitas of Bennett. Justin Hodges and Billy Slater have only just begun coaching careers in the Maroons fold, while Paul Green, Michael Hagan and Jason Demetriou are other fallback options.

Bennett will be 70 by the time next year’s Origin series comes around but is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I’m a short succession plan, I can tell you that,” Bennett quipped. “I’m not at the beginning of my career.”

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Bennett already has plenty on his plate. As well as coaching South Sydney, he is also the England mentor. However, he didn’t see any conflicts of interest.

“I’m not in that place yet, so I don’t have to make that decision,” Bennett said.

“I think the chairman was just expressing a point of view he had regarding the future. Kevin has got the job next year and I spoke to Kevin the other day about something unrelated, I asked him how it was all going, and he said he’d been reappointed for next year.

“You just assume that’s going to happen and if the other part comes up, I’ll be interested and see where it goes.”

Bennett, who has an Origin record of four series wins and a draw from 21 matches, said was non-commital about Wednesday’s decider at ANZ Stadium.

“I’m just looking forward to both teams playing well and making a great game of it,” he said.

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