What makes Wayne NRL’s most wanted? Just ask the Dragons
MASTER coach Wayne Bennett could lose the rest of his games in charge at St George Illawarra and still be feted as a Dragons hero.
He has already achieved so much for the club that anything more would be a bonus.
It’s why Brisbane, Newcastle, North Queensland and South Sydney are all clamouring for his services – the NRL supercoach who lives and breathes success.
Bennett’s accomplishment in delivering the 2010 premiership to long-suffering Dragons fans only tells part of what he has accomplished at the joint venture, which he will leave at the end of 2011.
This was an organisation where years of potential was wasted by players, coaching staff and officials who seemed more adept at creating headlines off the field than winning on it.
The pre-Bennett Dragons always had the talent to challenge for a premiership, but never, it seemed, the fortitude to carry through with the task.
There was a perception in rugby league circles that if you stayed in the contest long enough against them, the Dragons would wilt.
Not under Bennett – with back-to-back minor premierships and a grand final triumph as proof.
Gone, too, were the off-field rumours and innuendo as Bennett assumed the role of sole authority.
He assembled a playing roster that became the envy of the league, as players once considered fringe first-graders were
Wayne Bennett transformed into Origin stars. That’s the effect Bennett can have.
It’s why mining magnate Nathan Tinkler wants him at Newcastle in 2012.
And it’s why the Broncos would dearly love to see him return and put the club back on the track that saw them make 17 straight finals campaigns under his watch.
The Knights brought in Brian Smith in 2007 to clean out the joint, but while he revamped the roster, he was unable to attract the talent to deliver success.
Imagine the possibilities of uniting Bennett’s pulling power and footballing prowess with Tinkler’s bulging wallet.
Add the likes of Jamal Idris, Kade Snowden and Darius Boyd to a squad that already boasts Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Akuila Uate, Neville Costigan and exciting youngster Beau Henry, and who would bet against that lot going all the way next season?