NRL: Bennett to quit Knights

Wayne Bennett. Photo /Getty Images
Wayne Bennett. Photo /Getty Images

Coach Wayne Bennett says his inability to commit to the Newcastle Knights long-term is behind his decision to quit the club at the end of the NRL season.

Bennett announced on Thursday he will leave Newcastle at the end of the year after three seasons in charge.

The 64-year-old was contracted to the Knights until the end of 2015, but recent ownership changes meant he was a free agent at the end of this season.

"First and foremost, I am not comfortable with the performance of the team over the three years and I take full responsibility for that," Bennett said in a statement.

"While we have been faced with many challenges, the club is heading in the right direction and I have confidence in the structures now in place.

"I believe it will take a number of years to reach an acceptable position and that is what I am unable to commit to. A longer term coach is crucial for future success."

The seven-time premiership-winning coach advised Knights players and staff on Thursday morning of his decision.

He told the club he intends continuing coaching but hasn't begun discussions with any other club.

Knights boss Matt Gidley said he was disappointed to see Bennett go but understood his decision.

"Wayne has made this decision because he believes it is what is best for the club," Gidley said.

"Wayne's experience has been invaluable, particularly during our challenging periods."

Bennett will leave the Knights without bringing a premiership to Newcastle.

The side struggled under him in 2012, but he took them to within one game of the grand final last year before they were soundly beaten by eventual premiers the Sydney Roosters.

A return to St George Illawarra, where he enjoyed premiership success in 2010, has been mooted for Bennett.

He has also been linked to a return to Brisbane where he enjoyed such success.


Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 25 Jul 2016 13:51:19 Processing Time: 1177ms