Newcastle Knights head coach Wayne Bennett will depart the club at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Bennett, who has 7 NRL premierships to his name, was contracted to the club until the end of 2015 but when Nathan Tinkler relinquished control of the club, his future became clouded.
Bennett joined the Knights in 2012 where they finished a disappointing 12th, winning just 10 games. However the mastercoach turned things around in 2013, guiding the club to a preliminary final appearance where they went down to the eventual premiers, the Sydney Roosters, 40-14. They are currently in 14th position and are battling to avoid the wooden spoon.
Bennett’s impending departure must raise questions about the future of many players at the club, none more so than fullback Darius Boyd who has only ever been coached by Bennett. He followed Bennett from the Brisbane Broncos to the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2009, and then to the Knights in 2012.
After ending the Dragons’ 31-year premiership drought in 2010, many believe the club will push hard to bring Bennett back, although current coach Paul McGregor has worked wonders, guiding the team to three straight wins and has rejuvenated a once stagnant attack.
Bennett is the greatest coach of all time, there can be no doubting that. He accepted a challenge at both the Dragons and the Knights, and may be looking for another challenge, certainly there would be none bigger than the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks if they decided to make him an offer.
On the other hand, he is 64, and a return home to Queensland could be on the cards, especially with the Broncos’ indifferent form under Anthony Griffin, who is contracted until the end of 2015, but their season remains in limbo with an 8-win, 7-loss record.