Off-contract Rabbitohs duo Adam Reynolds and his coach Wayne Bennett could reunite in Brisbane in 2023 as the marquee signings for the NRL’s expansion team.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the Brisbane Jets — a potential 17th team — want Reynolds and Bennett as a package deal, should the Jets win the expansion race.
Reynolds’ future has dominated headlines for the last two months. The 30-year-old is after a two to three-year deal, while the Rabbitohs continue to stand firm on a one-year offer.
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Meanwhile, Bennett will step down from the head coaching role at South Sydney at season’s end as part of a succession plan with assistant Jason Demetriou. The 71-year-old recently shared his plans to move back to Brisbane by the end of this year.
The Jets have their eye on both of them and want Reynolds to take the one-year deal at the Rabbitohs and then join them in 2023.
The NRL are expected to sign off on an expansion team in July, with the Brisbane Jets — a combined bid from the Brisbane Bombers and Western Corridor/Ipswich Jets — understood to be leading the race.
Brisbane Jets CEO Nick Livermore is busy putting plans in place and one of those plans is his coach and marquee halfback.
“I’d hope Adam Reynolds would be available and only signs a deal for 2022. You’d absolutely want anyone of his standard,” he told the Herald.
“Someone like Adam Reynolds is a proven game winner and big game performer.
“From a bid director’s perspective, we want to build the most successful team from day one, and if you have Adam Reynolds and Wayne Bennett you have winners and proven performers.
“Any player of his calibre, if someone approached me we’d be encouraging them to sign a one year deal to leave themselves the option of joining a new franchise in 2023.
“It wouldn’t be the first time agents have lined up playing contracts to coincide with the start of a new TV rights deal.”
Reynolds is set to go to market, with the Cowboys an early favourite to land his signature. Last week, his manager spoke with Cowboys officials, who officially registered their interest in the premiership-winning halfback.
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However, Jets general manager of football, Scott Sattler told the Herald that the Bunnies sharpshooter would “dominate” their recruitment discussions should he be available for 2023.
“He’d be a tremendous player to have in your system if you were starting a club up,” Sattler said.
“He has all the attributes that would be very attractive to a new team. He’s a great club man, a family man, plays with plenty of pride, turns four into six and you also get a second coach on the football field.
“He would be great, but at the moment with his contract situation and him wanting to look after his family with a long term deal, it’s not realistic.
“In the situation where it became realistic and you had a license, he would dominate the discussion at the recruitment table.
“Whether Wayne was the coach or not, he would be a large part of your discussion at the recruitment table.
“He would dominate a conversation if it became a realistic option. He still has a lot of footy left in him and also has a young family. I never want to disrespect the Rabbits.
“They deserve to take this process through to the nth degree with Adam. We’ll wait and see what happens.”
As for Bennett, he was recently linked to a return to the Broncos as a coaching director. However, given he was axed in 2018 and left on bad terms, it would take some serious smoothing over to happen before a Red Hill reunion could be on the cards.
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But he’d likely be the first choice for any of the clubs in the expansion race.
Livermore confirmed Bennett certainly is at the top of the Jets’ list.
“When it comes to Wayne, you just have to look at his record,” Livermore said.
“Queensland wouldn’t have won the State of Origin series last year if he wasn’t coach. You’d be hard-pressed finding anyone to disagree.
“I know the rapport he has with his players. If you signed Wayne Bennett as coach, players just want to play for him. Craig Bellamy has the same at the Storm — players just want to play under those guys.
“If and when we get the license, Wayne would be one of your top candidates.”