Benny makes ag­o­nis­ing call not to ex­tend Thai­day’s deal

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PE­TER BADEL

WAYNE Ben­nett has made one of the tough­est calls of his 40year coach­ing ca­reer by telling club leg­end Sam Thai­day he will not be re- signed by the Bron­cos.

Thai­day — one of Bris­bane’s great­est ser­vants — will be forced into re­tire­ment at the end of next year un­less he opts to con­tinue his 15- year NRL ca­reer with an­other club.

It is not the first ag­o­nis­ing de­ci­sion for Ben­nett.

Al­most three decades ago, the su­per coach fa­mously axed Wally Lewis as Bris­bane cap­tain in a move that even­tu­ally led to the Queens­land Ori­gin icon sign­ing with the Gold Coast.

Now Ben­nett has made an­other gut- wrench­ing call by pri­vately ad­vis­ing Thai­day that the 32- year- old will not be retained when his con­tract ex­pires at the end of next year.

The Bris­bane coach is work­ing on post- foot­ball em­ploy­ment for the 269- game for­ward warhorse.

“Next year will be the end for Sam with us, he knows that,” Ben­nett said.

“Sam has a long- term fu­ture at the Bron­cos be­yond foot­ball and I still want him to be part of the club in some way.

“He has such great cred­i­bil­ity in the game.

“We are in­volved in a lot of indige­nous pro­grams where we can use guys like Sam and Justin Hodges, so there is a role for him at the Bron­cos.

“I guess it’s up to him if he wants to re­tire next year, but I just know we won’t be re­sign­ing Sam and I’ve told him that.”

Just three weeks ago, the vet­eran en­forcer was axed by Queens­land coach Kevin Wal­ters.

Thai­day sum­moned all his ex­pe­ri­ence to haul Bris­bane out of trou­ble on Satur­day night, set­ting up two tries in their 34- 22 de­feat of New­cas­tle.

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