Sport

Former assistant supports return of Bennett to Brisbane

CONFIDENT RETURN: Wayne Bennett celebrates with the Broncos during his former spell with the club.
CONFIDENT RETURN: Wayne Bennett celebrates with the Broncos during his former spell with the club. COLIN WHELAN

THE return of Wayne Bennett to the Brisbane Broncos can only be a good thing, according to former Bronco and Laidley product Peter Ryan.

Ryan, who achieved three premiership titles playing under Bennett at the Broncos and was later an assistant coach to him, believes the club would have been foolish not to have snapped up Bennett once he was available.

"Bennett is a freak with regards to coaching," Ryan said.

"That's not taking anything away from Anthony Griffin.

"He's done an admirable job.

"Unfortunately for him he hasn't got the results required. If I was on the board and had the option, you would say 'yes, put on Wayne', in a heartbeat. It's common sense to me if he's available."

Bennett's current stint with the Newcastle Knights could be considered the nearest he has come to failing at the top level.

Bennett took the Canberra Raiders to their first grand final in 1987, guided the Broncos to six premiership titles, won four State-of-Origin series as coach, led the Dragons to their first premiership since 1979 and helped the Kiwis win the 2008 World Cup.

After reaching the preliminary final last season the Knights are vying for this year's wooden spoon.

But Ryan does not believe Bennett's time as a top-level coach has passed him by.

He backed the 64-year-old to make the tough decisions to ensure the Broncos don't fall behind.

"I don't think age is an issue," Ryan said. "Everyone respects him.

"In the past he has reinvented himself a few times.

"Even when I was playing.

"Who gets rid of Wally Lewis (as Bennett did in at the Broncos in 1990)? He's made the tough decisions and got results out of it."

Another of those tough decisions came at the end of 2005, when Bennett got rid of Broncos assistant coaches Kevin Walters, Glenn Lazarus and Gary Belcher.

It was following their departure that Ryan joined as defence coach and the Broncos won the 2006 grand final.

It says much about Bennett that Walters, also an Ipswich product, didn't hold a grudge and resumed his relationship under Bennett as an assistant coach at the Knights.

It is reported Walters will join Bennett at the Broncos and take over the top job when Bennett's contract expires.

"For the majority of Kevvy's football career he's followed Wayne," Ryan said.

"He's the old-time Darius Boyd.

"He's worked with Craig Bellamy, plus Wayne and was head coach at the Catalans (in the UK Super League) so his resume speaks for itself."

'Maybe it's not all about the money'

PETER Ryan no longer has any official involvement in rugby league.

Instead, he spends his time running his mining parts and machinery export business, PHC Supply Co.

But the former Bronco knows the way Bennett thinks, having worked closely with him as a player and assistant coach for years.

Bennett's move, reportedly leaving St George in the lurch at the last minute having all but signed for the Dragons, has been attributed largely to the $4 million he is expected to earn for his three-year contract with Brisbane.

But Ryan is not so sure it is all about money.

Ryan is in a better position than many to judge, having served as a player under Bennett from 1993-99 and then as an assistant coach at the Broncos.

"Who knows," Ryan said.

"He might have gone there for nothing.

"Being away from his family may have taken its toll, with Wayne being so family-oriented."

Topics:  brisbane broncos, wayne bennett




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

UPDATE: Nearby workers helped woman injured in dog attack

NEW CATEGORY: Menacing dog. Photo: Thinkstock

Two dogs have been seized by the council following a dog attack

Ipswich "bomb hoax" culprit still at large

Police and fire fighters are on the scene. Photo: Anna Hartley.

"Prankster" wasn't caught on CCTV, police appeal to public for help

Your gig guide to a great night out in Ipswich

MEMORIES: Gavin Hunter presents Robyn Cox with her father's 78-year-old guitar, now restored.Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Latest deals and offers

Vox Pop: Council's rate increase

Mayor Paul Pisasale.

Members of the public speak out on Ipswich City Council's rate increase.

Blair candidate visits meatworks

LNP candidate for Blair Teresa Harding meets workers at JBS on Wednesday.

LNP candidate for Blair visited the JBS meatworks in Dinmore on Wednesday.

Pisasale's Budget

Mayor Paul Pisasale making budget announcements at Fire Station 101.

Cr Pisasale has announced his 2016/17 budget as one that "gets things done" and...

Arts and culture get a boost in council budget

HAPPY CAMPER: Council’s culture boss Cr Charlie Pisasale will be delighted $400,000 has been allocated for a business case investigation for IPAC.

IPAC at the forefront of councillor's agenda

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four