Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bennett, Anthony Seibold and Trent Robinson.
Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bennett, Anthony Seibold and Trent Robinson.

Is Bennett’s Broncos legacy just a myth?

HAVE the Rabbitohs got the master coach or is he past his used by date?

That is the question on everyone's lips, after Bennett began his tenure at Redfern two days after being sacked by the Broncos.

Bennett may have won seven premierships, but he has only averages one every nine years since 2000 and veteran league journalist Dean Ritchie believes he should have done more.

"Wayne hasn't won a premiership with Brisbane since 2006 and overall since 2010 and that is a dry spell for a super coach," Ritchie said.

"They should have won more premierships at the Broncos. There is a coach out there who I won't name and he said the Broncos and Bennett are the greatest underachievers in rugby league.

"They could have won at least three or four more with the roster they have got and the fact they are one team, one town.

Wayne Bennett will be under plenty of pressure to deliver at the Rabbitohs.
Wayne Bennett will be under plenty of pressure to deliver at the Rabbitohs.

"The pressure is going to be on Wayne from the start because South's finished third this year.

"So among all rugby league fans where do they finish next season for it to be deemed a success? I say a grand final.

"If he finishes fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh they have actually gone backwards."

However Bennett found an ally in three-time premiership winner Laurie Daley, who pointed to the closeness of the 2018 competition as a barometer for success in 2019.

"There was only two points separating the Rabbitohs and the Broncos last season," Daley said.

"If Wayne makes the finals and top four in particular, he's done a good job.

"If Wayne wins as many games as last year and gets the team in the top four, that is a successful year."

Despite his record seven NRL titles, many experts feel the 68-year-old should have done even better, especially in a one-team town like Brisbane.

Wayne Bennett with some of the Souths stars at training. (Phil Hillyard)
Wayne Bennett with some of the Souths stars at training. (Phil Hillyard)

As a whole Bennett's record looks formidable, but his success rate since he turned 60 has been on the slide.

Since he left the Dragons in 2011, which were the last team he took to a premiership, Bennett ranks a lowly seventh among current NRL coaches for win percentage.

During the period from 2012 to 2018, Craig Bellamy has the best record among active coaches, with 127 wins from 185 games for a 68.6 win percentage.

Trent Robinson is second on the list (63.3 from 158 games) and the man Bennett replaced at Redfern, Anthony Seibold is third (63.0 from 27 games), although granted he has only had one season in first grade.

Shane Flanagan (60.4 from 154 games), Paul Green (56.4 from 133 games) and Des Hasler 56.4 from 155 games) round out the top six.

During this period Bellamy has coached the most grand finals, taking Melbourne to the 2012 decider and the past three grand finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, winning two.

Hasler (2012, 2014) ranks equal second with Paul Green (2015, 2017) and Trent Robinson (2013, 2018) for active coaches in terms of grand finals made through this period.

Robinson has two premierships and Green has one.

Bennett made just one premiership decider with the Broncos in 2015, which he lost to the Cowboys.

Wayne Bennett’s deal with the Rabbitohs ends in 2021, when he will be 71.
Wayne Bennett’s deal with the Rabbitohs ends in 2021, when he will be 71.

Ritchie believes Bennett's lack of premiership success in the last eight years is evidence his powers are waning.

"If they go out in week one they have gone backwards," Ritchie said of the Rabbitohs' 2019 premiership charge.

"It's a high-pressure job and I'm not here to death ride Wayne, but the expectations are going to be high from day one."

However Daley pointed to Bennett's history of bringing clubs early success, as evidence that he can deliver at the Rabbitohs.

However he stressed that South Sydney's premiership window is closing, so if Bennett wants to add to his seven titles before his contract ends in 2021, he has to move fast.

Craig Bellamy is considered the current master coach, given his recent record.
Craig Bellamy is considered the current master coach, given his recent record.

"People forget he took the Knights to within a game of a grand final in 2014 in his second year," Daley said.

"He won a premiership with the Dragons in 2010 in his second year in charge. He took the Raiders to a grand final in his first year in charge.

"He set up the Brisbane Broncos and won six premierships and I think he can do good things with this Rabbitohs' roster in the next 12 to 18 months.

"The big challenge he is going to face is that a lot of these players are getting on and how does he transition them from being a part of the team to being out of the team?"

Bennett has three years to add to his premiership resume before his deal expires in 2021, when he will be 71 years old.

This Rabbitohs' deal is expected to be Bennett's last in rugby league.

Can he add to his impressive tally of premierships before his time is done or is his premiership window closed?

Time will tell.

News Corp Australia

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