Bennett’s reign to end in 2021 as Souths lock in successor
WAYNE Bennett has two seasons to bring South Sydney a title, with the Rabbitohs announcing a succession plan for 2022.
The Sydney Morning Herald has evealed next season will be Bennett's last at Redfern, with current assistant Jason Demetriou to take over the reins the following year.
Demetriou has agreed to a new four-year deal to succeed Bennett, after serving as an assistant to the master coach at both the Broncos and the Rabbitohs.
"The South Sydney Rabbitohs have confirmed that current assistant coach Jason Demetriou has agreed to terms on a contract extension with the South Sydney Rabbitohs with a view to succeeding Wayne Bennett as head coach of the club post the 2021 season," the club said in a statement on Friday.
"This is a plan which has been in place since coach Bennett's appointment at the club.
"Coach Bennett is contracted to the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2021 season with Demetriou lined up to take over the head coach role for the pre-season preparations leading into season 2022."
Demetriou's deal will take effect immediately and involves him being Bennett's assistant for the first two years, before taking the top job for 2022 and 2023.
South Sydney also have an option to extend the deal into the 2024 season in their favour.
Bennett will be nearly 72 by the time his deal ends and has given his blessing to the succession plan, but 2021 will likely not be his swansong as a NRL head coach.
Newscorp revealed Bennett has no plans to retire when his current contract with the Rabbitohs expires and he will be on the lookout for an opportunity at a rival club.
Bennett is the all-time leader in NRL games coached with a staggering 840 to date, including a record 521 wins and seven premierships.
Demetriou was part of the Cowboys' coaching staff that beat Bennett in the 2015 grand final, before linking up with the veteran coach at Brisbane via one season at the Dragons.
The 44-year-old followed Bennett to Sydney after the messy coach swap involving current Brisbane mentor Anthony Seibold at the end of the 2018 season.
Bennett's future is not certain, with a head of football role at Souths a possibility, although he could opt to return to Queensland to be closer to family.
Should Brisbane get a second team he would be the ideal inaugural coach if he does opt to continue his illustrious head coaching career.
South Sydney will take on the Eels in a trial match at Ringrose Oval on Friday February 21 at 7.00pm.
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