The Brisbane Broncos have bitten the bullet, telling supercoach Wayne Bennett he won’t be at the helm of the club beyond next year.
It’s understood the call was made at a board meeting last week not long after the side faded out of the NRL finals.
The decision brings to an end Bennett’s 25 years as Bronco’s head coach.
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Bennett remains under contract for 2019 and has agreed to see out the final year of his deal.
“Having the decision made now puts an end to speculation and allows a clear focus on getting ready for next season,” Bennett said in a statement.
“I firmly believe in the playing group we have here at the club.”
While Bennett is set to coach in 2019 there is speculation he could walk away from Red Hill if he secures a coaching role at another club.
Bennett has been linked to a return to the Dragons while Manly is also on the lookout for a new coach.
Broncos Chairman Karl Morris insists the club has been consistent in its stance in regards to the head coaching role with the club waiting until the end of this season before making a decision on Bennett’s future.
“The club will work through a thorough process, led by CEO Paul White, to identify and select a coach for the 2020 season and beyond,” Morris said.
White says the club is no rush to find a replacement for Bennett.
“We have been clear on that for the past year, we have a process and we will work through that to get the best result,” White said.
“Planning has already begun for next season and we are expecting big things from the team.”
“The 2019 season is something we can all look forward to.”
Brisbane made a big play for Storm Coach Craig Bellamy earlier this year before he eventually re-signed with Melbourne.
The club has reportedly shown strong interest in Souths coach Anthony Seibold while Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters has previously said he would put his hand up if the job became vacant.