SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett talks to media during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval on May 30, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Legendary coach Wayne Bennett is no stranger to having former players want to jump ship and follow him to a new club.

It's happened time and time again throughout the 71-year-old's career, but the South Sydney Rabbitohs were understandably keen to prevent that from happening at the end of his Redfern tenure.

With Bennett expected to be announced as the first coach of the NRL's newest team - the Dolphins - any day now, and the November 1 deadline fast approaching, attention has rapidly shifted to who Bennett and the Dolphins will target in their first wave of recruitment at the club.

Bennett has experience setting up a club, having done it with the Brisbane Broncos when they first joined what was then known as the NSWRL.

The Daily Telegraph have revealed that the Rabbitohs had the foresight to insert a clause into Bennett's contract stopping him from poaching any Rabbitohs players or staff in the weeks and months following his departure from the club.

That will now come into play, with heavy media speculation that the Dolphins could target one or both of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker, two of the bigger names currently playing at Redfern.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try with Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs during the NRL Semi Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It's unclear how long the period of time is, meaning Rabbitohs players could still wind up at the Dolphins ahead of 2023, but it will at the very least give South Sydney a longer period to negotiate with those players before Bennett and the Dolphins become involved.

Of course, Bennett has openly stated he has no interest in ruining the club he coached to the 2021 grand final, and back-to-back preliminary finals before that.

The 71-year-old is understood to want to set up the new club with Queenslanders at the top of the playing pile, indicating Walker and Mitchell may not be on the radar anyway.

That isn't to say it won't happen though, given the closeness of Walker and Bennett, with the star half who finished third in this year's Dally M award set to command up to seven figures in his next, and potentially final, NRL deal.

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