Wayne Bennett's illustrious coaching career will continue at the Dolphins in 2023 with the seven-time premiership-winning mentor unveiled as inaugural coach for the NRL's newest franchise on Thursday.
Bennett's three-year stint at the Rabbitohs ended last month following the side's 14-12 grand final loss to Penrith and the 71-year-old has been confirmed as the man to build the Dolphins into a competitive force for their entry to the NRL in 2023.
After signing a four year deal with the Dolphins, Bennett remains on track to become the first coach to reach 900 games - a feat he will achieve during the club's debut NRL season.
Here's a breakdown of the biggest events in Bennett's coaching history.
- 1987 – Wayne Bennett is announced as a co-coach of the Canberra Raiders alongside Don Furner, the side going down 18-8 to Manly in the grand final.
- 1988 – Bennett joins Brisbane for the club's inaugural season.
- 1990 – Wayne Bennett sacks Wally Lewis as captain and opts not to re-sign the club legend.
- 1992 – Brisbane win their first title under Bennett with a 28-8 victory over St George.
- 1993 – Brisbane go back-to-back with consecutive premierships after a 14-6 win in a grand final rematch with St George.
- 1997 – The Broncos win the Super League grand final defeating Cronulla 26-8 in the split competition.
- 1998 – Bennett guides the side to back-to-back premierships and first under the NRL banner. He is later announced as Australian coach, taking over from Bob Fulton.
- 2000 – Bennett rejects an offer from Australian Rugby Union and coaches the Broncos to their fifth premiership.
- 2001 – Bennett coaches Queensland for a third stint, this time recalling Allan Langer for the deciding clash, which the Maroons won in emphatic fashion.
- 2006 – Bennett coaches the side to its sixth premiership after finishing third during the regular season.
- 2008 – Bennett seeks a release from the remaining year on his deal with Brisbane to join St George Illawarra the following season on a three-year deal.
- 2009 – St George Illawarra finish minor premiers but are knocked out of the finals series by Bennett's former club Brisbane in the semi-finals.
- 2010 – Bennett coaches the Dragons to their first premiership title in more than 30 years.
- 2011 – Bennett announces before the season kicks off he will not renew his coaching tenure at the Dragons. A month later the Knights announce they have secured the veteran coach on a lucrative four-year deal.
- 2012 – Bennett's Knights struggle to meet expectations and his team misses the finals for the first time in Bennett's coaching history.
- 2013 – The Knights reach the preliminary finals after finishing seventh in the regular season with victories over the Bulldogs and Melbourne in September.
- 2014 – Bennett announces his departure from the Knights 12 months before his contract is due to expire and returns to the Broncos on a three-year deal.
- 2015 – Brisbane reaches the NRL grand final but go down in golden point 17-16 to the Cowboys.
- 2016 – Bennett is announced as England coach in addition to his role with the Broncos and extends his stay with the club for a further two seasons through until the end of 2019.
- 2018 – The Broncos announce Bennett won't be re-signed past the 2019 season. Bennett signs a two-year deal with South Sydney from 2020. The Broncos in return announce the signing of Anthony Seibold as his replacement. Bennett sacked by Brisbane on December 2.
- 2020 – Bennett is sacked by England Rugby League after poor showings at the World Cup Nines and Great Britain tour in October/November.
- 2020 – South Sydney announce plans for assistant coach Jason Demetriou to take over from the 2022 season, leaving Bennett's future uncertain.
- 2021 - Bennett guides the Rabbitohs to the Telstra Premiership grand final in his final season at the club
- 2021 - Bennett confirmed as the Dolphins inaugural NRL coach from 2023
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Wayne Bennett's NRL coaching record
- Total games: 889
- Won: 556
- Lost: 333
- Win rate: 63%
- Premierships: 7
Games: 28 (as co-coach with Don Furner)
Win rate: 60.7%
Finals series: 1
Grand finals 1 (1987)
Brisbane (1988-2008, 2015-18)
Bennett joined the Broncos in 1988 for their inaugural season and would spend the next two decades becoming one of the most successful coaches of the NRL era with six premierships and 20 finals series.
Win rate: 63.8%
Finals series: 23
Grand finals 7 (1992-93, 1997-98, 2000, 2006, 2015)
Premierships: 6 (1992-93, 1997-98, 2000, 2006)
St George Illawarra (2009-12)
Bennett sought a release from the final year of his contract in 2008 to join the St George Illawarra Dragons for the next three seasons. He delivered the Red V their first premiership since 1979 in his second year at the helm.
Win rate: 64.6%
Finals series: 3
Grand finals: 1 (2010)
Premierships: 1 (2010)
Newcastle Knights (2012-14)
Bennett rejected an offer from South Sydney to join the Newcastle Knights under a new era with former billionaire owner Nathan Tinkler taking over the club. The veteran coach experienced the worst period of his coaching career with one finals series in three years. He was granted a release by the club to re-join Brisbane at the end of 2014.
Win rate: 45.3%
Finals series: 1
Grand finals: 0
South Sydney (2019-21)
Bennett guided the Rabbitohs to two preliminary finals in 2019 and 2020 before the club reached the grand final in 2021, going down 14-12 to Penrith.
Win rate: 68%
Finals series: 3
Grand finals: 1