Uncertainty surrounding the coaching future of Wayne Bennett is set to continue for at least another month with veteran coach keeping his options open.
It has been reported that Bennett will resist announcing a decision on his future until Nathan Tinkler’s proposed takeover of NRL club Newcastle Knights is decided this month.
Tinkler, who will ask members to back his bid to buy the Knights at an extraordinary general meeting, has made his affection for the Dragons’ super coach well-known.
He is keen to attract the seven-time premiership winner to the club despite keen interest from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
It means St George Illawarra will begin the season under a cloud of uncertainty regarding their coach.
It’s understood Tinkler has made an informal approach to Bennett, which is why the most sought-after coach in the game is preparing to wait for the Knights’ future to be determined before making a call on his destination in 2012.
Souths and the Brisbane Broncos are also serious about luring Bennett from the Dragons. But it appears Newcastle have a trump card, with Tinkler Sports Group executive chairman Ken Edwards becoming a key player in Operation Bennett.
Ken is the brother of former Brisbane Broncos chief executive Shane Edwards and is now employed as Tinkler’s right-hand man.
Bennett remains close friends with Shane Edwards, who was replaced by Bruno Cullen as CEO in 2003.
It’s those alliances – coupled with Tinkler’s millions – which puts the Knights in a strong position to lure Bennett to the Steel City.
Tinkler also refuted claims he made a $1 million play to sign Snowden from the Sharks.