News broke on Tuesday that the Brisbane board have decided that they will not be offering a contract extension to current Broncos boss Wayne Bennett.
Although he has a year to run on his current deal, taking him until the end of next season, the general feeling is that the Broncos may be looking for a new coach in the coming weeks with Bennett expected to possibly walk away.
With a line of top coaches coming off contract in the coming seasons it is possible that the Broncos will appoint an interim coach in 2019 if Bennett does step away, and look more long-term from there.
We take a look at those most likely to take up the soon to be vacant hot seat at Red Hill.
Kevin Walters: For a long time it was assumed the current Queensland Origin coach and former Bronco, Kevin Walters would take over when Bennett called time on his career.
Although some water has rushed under the bridge since then, it’s not beyond expectations that Walters could soon be returning to Brisbane in a full time capacity.
Whether or not he’d be willing to give up the rep coaching gig is a big question with both the Broncs and QLD Origin likely to prefer a standalone coach.
There are question marks over Walters’ abilities given he has not coached at the top level, week-to-week, just yet, but if the Broncs are looking for a ‘rookie’ option, they could do worse than a rusted on Bronco.
Anthony Seibold: Rumours were swirling earlier this season that the current Souths boss would be offered the role, possibly as soon as 2019. Although that never eventuated, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Seibold is odds on to contest the coach of the year award after guiding Souths to third place, and then a prelim final, within his first year in the top job.
He ignited Damien Cook’s career and found the best out of Alex Johnston, while returning Adam Reynolds to form.
Seibold is a fresh coach with early runs on the board and would be a target for any side looking for a long-term mentor. He coaches arguably the biggest club in the game right now so would not shy away from the monster job possibly in front of him.
Shane Flanagan: On the surface this may seem strange but there are rumblings within the Shire club that a change in direction might be needed, with Flanagan possibly moving on.
For the record I expect the Sharks to extend the contract of their first ever Premiership winning coach before the Broncos can even make contact, but he’s the kind of coach to fill the void.
No stranger to adversity or big name players, Flanagan managed to extract the best from the likes of Ben Barba and Jack Bird, two plays Bennett himself has failed miserably to find top form in either player.
Flanagan can command a pretty penny but won’t bust the bank in the way a Bellamy would.
The Sharks mentor reportedly comes off contract at the end of 2019, meaning the Broncos can talk to him very soon, and make an offer if his current club haven’t already penned a large extension.
Michael McGuire: Where there is a vacant coaching gig, the name Michael McGuire will soon appear.
The current Kiwi coach will be at short odds to take over at Brisbane, and it is the former Souths Premiership winner that is my most likely as it stands.
He has runs on the board in both Australia and England, and despite a horror 2016 season, has a brilliant record at the Bunnies behind him.
Another who would likely have to cease commitments elsewhere, but on record as saying he’d look at returning to an NRL role if the opportunity presented itself.
As it stands, I would not be shocked to see McGuire linked with the job, possibly even before this is published.
Darren Lockyer: The talk has already begun for the Broncos’ best ever to take up the coaching role many assume he will fill one day.
It’s probably too soon while his media commitments would really factor in, but stranger things have happened.
From memory Lockyer had completed a coaching course, or was enrolled in one at least, fairly recently.
It’s almost certain that his name will be thrown up. Whether or not there is any interest from either party is another question.