Wayne Bennett has taken a major swipe at his former employers, the Brisbane Broncos, just minutes after he guided South Sydney to next week’s NRL grand final.
- Wayne Bennett will coach in his 10th NRL grand final next week
- Bennett was sacked by the Broncos in 2018, ending his second spell at the club
- He hopes reaching the decider is “part of the repayment” for the faith Souths showed in him
After South Sydney romped past Manly 36-16 at Lang Park on Friday — landing Bennett into his 10th grand final — the veteran coach unloaded on his former employers.
The 71-year-old took aim at Brisbane officials over his ugly exit from the club to join Souths at the end of his second spell at the club in 2018.
Bennett — who led the Broncos to the 2015 grand final — and Anthony Seibold switched jobs a season earlier than planned after Bennett was sacked.
“I will say, publicly, [Brisbane] undermined me in their conversations with Souths,” he said.
“To Souths’ credit, there were some people there who had worked with me before. They were happy to bite the bullet and give me the opportunity.
“I owe [Souths’ owner] Russell Crowe and, hopefully, tonight is part of the repayment, what the team has done.”
Brisbane had viewed Seibold as the way forward at Red Hill, but now Bennett is in another grand final and the Broncos are still recovering from a maiden wooden spoon last year.
“They felt a lot of things,” Bennett said when asked if he felt vindication.
“I wasn’t listening to them because I have spent a lifetime being honest with myself and if I thought I was washed up as a coach I wouldn’t coach another day because I would let too many people down.”
Bennett will vie for an eighth NRL title in Brisbane next Sunday against either Penrith or Melbourne, the Rabbitohs being his fourth different grand finalists in a period that stretches across five different decades.
A young Bennett co-coached Canberra to a decider in 1987 before winning six titles with Brisbane and then another with St George Illawarra in 2010.
“I am still motivated by the same things,” he said of the 34-year journey between those grand finals.
“As a 23-year-old, I decided to go and coach a football team because they didn’t have a coach.
“If I want to coach then I’ve got to be good at what I do, I have to adapt. It’s as simple as that, no grey areas.
Set to depart for Brisbane next year, Souths captain Adam Reynolds battled a groin injury that almost forced him out of Friday’s win, while utility Benji Marshall will play a second grand final 16 years after winning with Wests Tigers.
“He’s saved my career two times,” Marshall said of Bennett, who recruited him to Brisbane in 2017 and then again to Souths this year.
“It’s the care factor in feeling loved and [having the] confidence of your coach.
“He just loves coaching, the way he talks to the team, he still has the touch … I think he gave himself goosebumps this week.
“I love Wayne.”