'I can coach Souths and Qld': Bennett

Master coach Wayne Bennett insists he can coach South Sydney and Queensland at the same time as Kevin Walters continues to be linked to the Gold Coast.

Coach WAYNE BENNETT of the Broncos answers questions at a press conference after the NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Coach WAYNE BENNETT of the Broncos answers questions at a press conference after the NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Wayne Bennett insists he could coach Queensland and South Sydney at the same time as speculation about Kevin Walters' future continues to mount.

Walters was adamant that he would see out the remainder of his Maroons contract next year, declaring "I'll be back next year" following Queensland's loss in the State of Origin decider on Wednesday.

However, he continues to be linked to the Gold Coast, with Titans coach Garth Brennan's position uncertain as part of a review of the club's football department conducted by Mal Meninga.

Walters has made no secret of his desire to be an NRL coach having missed out to Anthony Seibold following Bennett's exit from the Broncos at the end of last year.

Should Walters, who has two series wins but lost back-to-back titles, move on from the Maroons, Bennett and Justin Hodges have been mentioned as possible replacements.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher said Bennett was his preferred option should Walters depart.

While Bennett said he wasn't lobbying for the job, he said he was open to returning having been Maroons coach in three stints.

"None of that was my doing, the Queensland chairman made a statement, he's never spoken to me," Bennett said.

"No one has ever spoken to me about that. To his credit, Bruce rang me and said 'look I said this, I didn't mean to say it'. I've got no doubt about that.

"Kevin (is on contract) for next year, it just didn't make sense.

"My point of view is it had nothing to do with me and if someone came knocking on my door at a later stage in my life, I'd make a decision."

The QRL's preference in recent years has been to employ coaches who are not with NRL clubs, but they may need to change tact given the lack of depths in their ranks.

"I did it seven times during my coaching career so if I had to do (coach an NRL club and Origin) again, and I wanted to do it again, and everyone was onside, it's doable," Bennett said.

"The challenge they've got with their rule is who's available.

"If Kevin does get an opportunity somewhere else and can't coach Origin again, in his first year of (NRL) coaching, (Queensland) wouldn't be his priority.

"Then you can't pick NRL coaches, you can only pick coaches who are unemployed. There aren't many that are unemployed that are Queenslanders. It's a difficult one."

Bennett said he was no certainty to continue as England Test coach next year, which could potentially open the door for him to return to the Maroons.

"My contract is up at the end of this year," Bennett said.

"So I've got to renegotiate if I want to be there and they want me."


AAP