Leading NRL coach and long time Brisbane Broncos mentor Wayne Bennett has officially signed with the Dragons for 2009 and beyond, with the famous Sydney club finalising the deal yesterday and ending many months of speculation over the future of much maligned coach Nathan Brown.
Recent rumours suggested Wayne Bennett had a strong link to the Dragons and it seems the talk was right on the money. Many felt Bennett would prefer Sydney as a future base, with his family recently relocating to Sydney and settling comfortably in the southern state.
The big question is, can Wayne Bennett get the Dragons performing? A side that has gone without a premiership in nearly a quarter of a century and a side that has struggled to drop the ‘overrated’ tag. Bennett’s relaxed, fatherly approach might be just the medicine for the side that has been under the control of a young Nathan Brown now for 5 years.
Outgoing coach Nathan Brown is a chance of staying on at the Dragons, the club seemingly offering him the olive branch to take up and assistant role under Wayne Bennett. Other offers have reportedly come in from Fox Sports who desperately need new talent on their talk show desks after Laurie Daley left for Channel 9 and upcoming talent Greg Alexander has been moved to co-commentator with Warren Smith – leaving Gary Belcher as an inexperienced team leader in the studio.
While the Fox offer could be a chance, Brown has said he considers himself a career coach and feels there is plenty of good years left in him somewhere in the clipboard game.
With the coaching merry-go-round only warming up, Nathan Brown could have an opportunity at the Raiders should David Furner not get the nod and with the current climate at the Penrith Panthers there could be an opening there if results don’t improve.
At the very least, Nathan Brown will be happy that a world of pressure has been lifted off his shoulders. Regardless of Dragons results, the talk of his coaching future beyond 2008 won’t be raised as much not that Bennett is confirmed as head coach.
The Brisbane Broncos will be hoping that the new contact talk doesn’t distract Bennett from his immediate duties, the Broncos getting a flying start to 2008 – leading the comp. With the Israel Folau signing and possible player positional changes, or culling – combined with the Bennett coaching talk; the squad could easily be forgiven for distractions.
The Broncos getting the ultimate test this week, facing an out-of-sorts Storm side that will be hell bent on fixing things.