Now that Nathan Tinkler has given up control of the Newcastle Knights Wayne Bennett is effectively allowed to leave the club under the terms of the contract he signed.
When Bennett joined the Knights, his contract was with Hunter Sports Group, not the Newcastle Knights themselves. The deal stated that if Tinkler left as owner Bennett was able to seek employment elsewhere.
There is talk that Bennett is considering staying on at the Knights and helping the club through this difficult period. I don’t expect him to stay however. There is too much money elsewhere he can make.
I also think that it would be good for the Knights to have a change. I wrote that week that the club needed a new owner, new CEO and a new board, things that will all happen soon enough. I think a new coach wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for them either.
The current Knights team is pretty old compared to the rest of the NRL. There is a big core of their talent that are simply going to retire over the next few seasons.
The Knights need a coach that can be around long term and rebuild the clubs playing ranks. Rick Stone is the likely person to take over from Wayne Bennett. He will be a lot cheaper than Bennett, he is already at the club and so knows the club well, and I think the club would give him the time needed to rebuild over a couple of seasons.
Wayne Bennett was brought into the club to build a team and win now. He has done his best, but it hasn’t really worked out how anyone has wanted. The job ahead of the Newcastle Knights coach is not the job Bennett was brought to the club to do.
I tend to think the best thing for Wayne Bennett and the Newcastle Knights would be for the club to get a new coach at seasons end.