With a decision on the 17th club to enter the NRL looming, veteran coach Wayne Bennett has thrown his hat in the ring to be the expansion teams' inaugural coach at a potentially eye-watering price.
While no formal decision has been announced, the Redcliffe Dolphins are poised to be competition's newest team from 2023, joining the Broncos in Brisbane to be the city's second team.
Bennett, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches in the league's history, hails from Queensland and it is looking all but certain the 71-year-old will take the reins of his state's newest team.
Prior to the 2021 grand final, Bennett spoke to ABC Sport about his upcoming departure from South Sydney, and his future in the game.
"I just decided to come home to Brisbane. I don't want to go back to Sydney or anywhere else." Bennett said.
"If a job opportunity comes up in Brisbane that suits me then I'll grab it.
"But I'm not leaving Brisbane."
While not officially commencing in the competition until 2023, it's reported that Bennett has already signed a deal with the Dolphins, a role that Daily Telegraph journalist Michael Carayannis speculates will cost the club close to six-figures.
“He’d be worth probably around that $800,000 mark I’d suggest, nudging towards $1 million,” Carayannis said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“The Titans job isn’t opening up any time soon with Justin Holbrook there, he’s not returning to Brisbane and the Cowboys are a bit shaky, would he try to go there?
“Remember he’s got some history at the Cowboys considering he wanted to go there and the person he was speaking to said, ‘I need to go to the board’, to which Wayne said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’, that was a few years ago.
"I have loved being South Sydney's coach because I love the fans" - Wayne Bennett farewells South Sydney with one of his all-time speeches ❤️💚 🙌
WATCH: https://t.co/sUbb2kDK4Q#GoRabbitohs 🐰 pic.twitter.com/zEEAs4OqWu
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) October 8, 2021
“It makes sense that the Dolphins would look at Wayne and that Wayne would look at the Dolphins.
“He can set up the club, that’s something he hasn’t done in a while, he played a large part in setting up the Broncos so he knows what it takes.
“I think it’s a great deal for both parties.
“He’ll get announced as the new coach in the next couple of weeks.”
SEN host Andrew Voss speculated that Bennett would be commanding a higher price, given his status within the game.
“I don’t think he’s getting anything less than $1 million, Wayne Bennett,” Voss said.
“I think there’s going to be seven-figures on the annual salary of Wayne Bennett for the new club.
“It’s a bit like the (GWS) Giants with Kevin Sheedy, they need the name at the head of the club for the next 12 months so straight away people are excited.
“They’ve got credibility, people are excited because Wayne Bennett will be there.”
Bennett has won seven premierships as a senior coach, including six for the Broncos. The NRL is expected to unveil the 17th franchise in the coming week.