Broncos’ Christmas present to Souths
WAYNE Bennett is facing a showdown with Brisbane powerbrokers in a move that will see him dethroned at Red Hill, paving the way for Anthony Seibold to take charge at the Broncos.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Bennett will meet with Broncos chairman Karl Morris with a view to thrashing out a severance package and triggering a straight swap with South Sydney coach Seibold.
Bennett returned to Brisbane on Wednesday after completing his duties with the England national team.
He was due to meet Morris on Thursday, only for the Broncos chairman to postpone the meeting that will likely draw the curtain on Bennett's Broncos career until the weekend.
Instead, Bennett will attend Broncos training at Red Hill. But the bullet is coming, with Broncos bosses expected to finalise a compensation deal with Bennett, whose hopes of coaching Brisbane next season are now extremely slim.
Well-placed sources say Seibold will be formally installed as Broncos coach by Christmas, with Rabbitohs hierarchy happy to release the rookie coach at any moment.
Bennett's position at Red Hill is effectively untenable.
He hasn't spoken to Morris and Broncos CEO Paul White in six weeks since the trio exchanged uncomfortable "small talk" at Brisbane's presentation night in early October.
Speaking exclusively with The Courier-Mail, Bennett confirmed he is returning to the Broncos, but admits he has no idea how much longer he will last.
"I'll be honouring my contract by going to training," Bennett said.
Asked if he will be sacked by Morris, Bennett said: "I don't know. I'm not commenting any further other than to say I'll be at training."
Seibold is ready to start at the Broncos now, but the timing of the straight swap will ultimately hinge on whether Brisbane are prepared to cop a major financial hit by paying out Bennett.
Another complication is the repercussions for ancillary staff at the Broncos and Rabbitohs and the associated budgetary pressures.
Seibold is keen to bring his current assistants Peter Gentle and Willie Peters to the Broncos. That would lead to the demise of current Broncos assistant Jason Demetriou, who is tipped to follow Bennett to Redfern.
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd returns to training on Thursday and has appealed for the club not to sack Bennett, but says Brisbane players can overcome any pre-season bloodletting.
"I hope Wayne sees his contract out," Boyd said.
"It would be sad to see him cut ties with the club straight away based on the success he has built here and the scrutiny he has come under.
"But as players we have to take a business approach. It's a business these days in the NRL and the players and coaches are not immune to it.
"I would like to see Wayne finish next year on good terms, but sometimes decisions are made and life goes on.
"What happens now is way above my head."
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