Next year will mark the last year we will see Wayne Bennett as coach of South Sydney.
The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that Bennett’s assistant, Jason Demetriou, has agreed to a four-year extension that will see him take over as Bennett’s successor and lead the club into the future.
Demetriou’s new four-year deal will begin immediately but will still serve as Bennett’s assistant for this year and next year before taking over the reigns as of November 1, 2021, when Bennett’s three year deal expires.
There has long been some speculation about how long Bennett will remain in the coaching business ever since he switched from Brisbane on a three year deal. The Demetriou extension clearly labels and maps out the club’s succession plan moving forward.
Bennett has given the club his blessing on the succession plan and believes that Demetriou is ready to take over as coach. Demetriou was part of the coaching staff that defeated the Brisbane Broncos in the 2015 Grand Final.
After a season on St George Illawarra’s staff, Demetriou joined Bennett at Brisbane and then followed him to the Rabbitoh’s last year.
Demetriou, a former rugby player in England, has enjoyed success wherever he has gone. He took control of the Rabbitoh’s NRL Nines squad and also plays a hands on role with the team throughout the season.
Demetriou was listed to take over Bennett at Brisbane, but Anthony Seibold ultimately got the job, causing a bit of drama with no love lost between Demetriou and Seibold after both engaged in a war of words prior to their clash in August.
Bennett’s next move is unclear once he completes his coaching. He could take over as the head of football at the Souths or another club that would see him further add to his illustrious coaching career and games tally, which stands at 836 NRL games.
Bennett is a target should a second Brisbane franchise be given the nod ahead of the next broadcasting deal. Bennett has already set a number of records in the coaching business that will be unlikely to be surpassed by anyone else and he may decide to end his career once his deal expires.
Demetriou’s rise to the top is just one of the intriguing power shifts for the Souths. The Rabbitoh’s board reportedly discussed the possibility of parting ways with general manager Shane Richardson, only for co-owner Russell Crowe to save his job.
Regardless of what happens behind closed doors, Demetriou should have a fairly strong squad once he takes over as coach, with superstars Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray hitting their primes while Jai Arrow will join the Rabbitoh’s from next season.