Flanagan shoots down Bennett’s links to Dragons return
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St George Illawarra assistant coach Shane Flanagan has smacked down rumours of a homecoming for premiership coach Wayne Bennett after whispers of his return to the Red V reignited recently.
Bennett, who is contracted to South Sydney until the end of 2021, has been linked with a move back to the Dragons as soon as next season.
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The NRL’s most accomplished coach won a premiership with the Dragons in 2010, and a poor start to the season has heaped pressure on current mentor Paul McGregor, who has held the reins for six seasons for minimal success.
However, speaking on Fox League on Wednesday night, Flanagan said he couldn’t see the Dragons considering a coaching change now in the middle of the coronavirus shutdown.
“I’d be very surprised. The club is 100 per cent behind Paul McGregor, he’s doing a really good job. We didn’t get off to a great start but who knows what the rest of the season holds,” he said.
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“The club is really united and working really hard from top to bottom and I’d be really surprised if that was on the club’s agenda, especially at the moment.
“We’re all working hard and he’s working harder than everyone else and to think that they’re going to have a coach change in this period of time is way off the mark.”
Although Bennett is contracted until the end of 2021, the Rabbitohs have named his successor in Jason Demetriou, meaning his time at the club will come to an end next season.
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The 70-year-old has not ruled out retirement, but has previously spoken of his desire to continue coaching at an NRL level.
Meanwhile, the Dragons will lose representative star Tyson Frizell to Newcastle next season and Flanagan said the club will struggle to find a replacement.
“The trouble with at the moment, we’re in a holding pattern,” he said.
Wayne Bennett’s tenure with the Rabbitohs ends after the 2020 season.Source:AAP
“There’s no recruitment going on, there’s no training going on, and I’m sure Paul and the recruitment staff have got their head around possible people that we could recruit to the club next year.
“And let’s be honest, he’ll be hard to replace. He’s an Origin and Test player.
“They’re just not out there to grab and we might have to get a younger one and hope that he develops into a Tyson Frizell but I’m sure the club is thinking about what’s next.”
Originally published asFlanagan shoots down Bennett’s links to Dragons return
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