Bennett opens up on life after the Rabbitohs
For the second straight season, the South Sydney Rabbitohs went within a game of the NRL grand final.
The Rabbitohs fell just short in losing to Penrith in last year's preliminary final following what was a promising season for coach Wayne Bennett's team.
Bennett will oversee the Rabbitohs for the final time in 2021 before he hands over the role to assistant Jason Demetriou and embarks on the next stage of his career. Bennett speaks to TRAVIS MEYN about how South Sydney is shaping up in 2021 and what is next for the super coach.
Wayne, how is the squad looking with a shorter pre-season to prepare for 2021?
They're not all back here yet but everyone who has come back is in pretty good shape.
The Rabbitohs made the preliminary finals last year before losing to minor premiers Penrith. When you look back on 2020 what are your thoughts on the season? Were you happy?
Not really. We improved as the season went on so that was the upside for us, I suppose.
Were you not happy because you didn't win the premiership?
(Laughs). There is a lot more in this side than we are showing at the moment so that's the challenge.
You've signed Queensland Origin forward Jai Arrow (Titans) and Josh Mansour (Panthers) and released a few players like James Roberts (Tigers) and Corey Allan (Bulldogs), what do you think about your roster?
I think we've got a pretty strong squad this year. We've had a few other players come in as well, without the big names. We've got a very balanced and reasonably strong squad.
Latrell Mitchell missed the back end of the season with a bad hamstring injury and Cam Murray suffered a similar injury in State of Origin. How are they?
Everyone that should be back training is back and Latrell is in one of those categories. Cam Murray had a major injury in the State of Origin as well and he is back training. They're all good.
How do you feel about 2021 being your last year?
Where did you come to that conclusion?
Isn't it your last year as coach of the Rabbitohs?
It's my last year at the Rabbitohs, yes.
Does it feel any different to other years?
What are your plans for next year?
I've got none right now.
What will you be doing?
No idea but I'll be in football somewhere.
Will you come back to Brisbane?
We'll see what happens.
Jason Demetriou will take over as South Sydney head coach next year. Will there be any changes this year in the way you work together?
How is he shaping up to take over the role?
Are you throwing him to the wolves next year?
I doubt that.
Will he be ready?
They wouldn't have appointed him and I wouldn't have endorsed him if I didn't think he would be ready to coach in the NRL.
What have you made of your two years so far at South Sydney? Most people would say two preliminary finals appearances is a good effort.
There is still a lot to be done here.
Can you elaborate?
Thanks, Wayne. Good luck.
Originally published as Bennett opens up on life after the Rabbitohs