Paul Kent believes the wheels are already in motion for Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett to make a return to the Broncos either in 2021 or 2022.
Kent believes the developments suggest there is already some behind the scenes manoeuvring to bring Bennett back to Red Hill.
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“The campaign has begun,” Kent said.
“It is that transparent. Peter Badel doesn’t write a story quoting Wayne Bennett, without Wayne knowing the whole picture.
“Karl Morris is currently the chairman of a club that is in trouble that needs a way out and Wayne is now potentially a light out of the darkness.
“He sits there and goes, if Wayne Bennett will get us out of this mess then we will do it and that is what he entertained today.”
Fox League journalist Lara Pitt grilled Bennett on his comments at a lively press conference on Wednesday.
“I made a statement about it and that’s all I’m saying. It’s speculative. I’ve spoken to nobody. I’m making a statement and I will leave it at that,” Bennett said.
“You don’t leave me in a position not to make a statement. The statement was made at the other end and I was only responding to that.
“The thing I’ve learnt in this business is that the ‘no comment’ doesn’t work. I wasn’t going to run around making no comment. So I’ve made a comment about it and that’s where it stops.”
However Pitt believes the language used points to Bennett seriously considering a return to the Broncos.
“What struck me was the tone of the statement,” Pitt said.
“It feels like the narrative of the conversation has changed dramatically. It is almost like he is extending an olive branch to the club by saying, I’d be humbled by the fact.
“And then he said go back and read the statement and that tells me that he wants to go back there. But he is not willing to say that today.”
“That is because he guaranteed Souths three months ago that he was going nowhere,” Kent interjected.
“He told Sam Burgess who came on this show and said Wayne looked him in the eye and said he is going nowhere,” James Hooper added.
“What has changed since then is the Warriors have appointed a coach, Cowboys have appointed a coach, Dragons have appointed a coach,” Kent replied.
“They are running out of opportunities.”
Journalist Peter Badel, who wrote the initial story believes Bennett is reluctant to admit the fact he is considering a return to the Broncos to be fair to his current employer South Sydney.
“Part of the problem for Wayne Bennett is that he is on contract,” Badel said.
“If he was off-contract now I think he would be at the Broncos next year. But a bit like Bellamy who has always been off-contract at the wrong time when the Broncos wanted to pursue him. Wayne Bennett has another 12 months to run at Souths.
“But the Rabbitohs are building towards the finals and Bennett doesn’t want to destabilise the South Sydney train.”
Badel believes once outgoing CEO Paul White leaves the club at the end of the season, Bennett and Morris will be free to negotiate his potential return to Red Hill.
“Wayne loves the Broncos and he cares about the club,” Badel said.
“I know having put this story together by going to Karl Morris and then to Bennett for a retort, there is some feeling on both sides that would like to make this happen.
“But Wayne Bennett would need some certainty about running the football department at the Broncos. He doesn’t want interference from the board.
“Paul White was the big impediment here and he leaves in a couple of months and that was Wayne’s big beef. He had an issue with Paul White and he is now out of the picture.”