‘Done deal’: Bennett’s Bunnies blockbuster

WAYNE Bennett is reportedly on the verge of signing with South Sydney in a blockbuster coaching swap.

In what would be the biggest coaching swap in league history, reports emerged Thursday afternoon Bennett has agreed to join the Rabbitohs in 2020 on a two-year deal.

It came just hours after it was first reported that Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold is close to signing with the Broncos for 2020.

The Australian’s Brent Read first reported the Bunnies’ dramatic powerplay, claiming the swap could happen as early as the 2019 season

That means Bennett and Seibold could still move clubs before the start of pre-season training just weeks away.

Hearing South Sydney could confirm Wayne Bennett for 2020 as early as today. Talk of 2019 is premature but would be folly to rule it out. Story on @aus_sport soon

EXCLUSIVE – it’s a done deal – Anthony Seibold will coach @brisbanebroncos in 2019 in a direct swap with Wayne Bennett to coach @SSFCRABBITOHS in 2019 @7NewsSydney #nrl pic.twitter.com/58jgJ5LjMS

Broncos won’t be announcing anything re coaches today. But Bennett going to Souths for 2019 is inevitable. Seibold could be at Red Hill as early as next month.

So this is where the great coaching merry-go-round will land: Souths – Bennett, Brisbane – Seibold, Manly – Des, Tigers – Maguire, Penrith – Cleary. Amazing result but reckon everyone walks away pretty happy

The development has huge implications for the rest of the competition, with the NRL coaching landscape for 2019 beginning to take shape.

Seibold’s reported decision to knock the Rabbitohs back triggered immediate moves.

Channel 9 reported on Wednesday night that the Rabbitohs had offered Seibold a revised contract a few weeks ago but were yet to receive a response.

Nobody out-foxes the supercoach.Source:News Corp Australia

Seibold last week interviewed for the Brisbane job which is vacant from 2020 after the Broncos board decided not to renew Wayne Bennett’s contract.

The Rabbitohs reportedly recently bumped up their offer to Seibold but took the offer off the table after he informed the club his preference is to sign with the Broncos.

Anthony Seibold has informed South Sydney that he is the preferred candidate for the Brisbane Broncos and wants to see that process through. The Rabbitohs will now head in another direction for 2020. Full story on @aus_sport

Seibold will be coaching the Broncos in 2020 BUT there’s more twists in this. I understand he remains an option to coach in 2019. https://t.co/01UNi460aO

Anthony Seibold is inheriting the best young list in the NRL @brisbanebroncos – the reason Bennett was so intent on short extension is because he knows this group is two three years away from being repeat premiership threats.

It was reported recently that the Rabbitohs would be comfortable letting Seibold leave immediately because they had former assistant coach David Furner ready to step in.

However, the former Raiders mentor remains contracted with Super League club Leeds and would need to get out of his three-year-contract with the England club to return to the Rabbitohs.

That now appears to have been the Rabbitohs Plan B, with the club identifying Bennett as Seibold’s replacement.

South Sydney is moving on quickly.Source:News Corp Australia

It remains to be seen whether Bennett and Seibold will trade places for the 2019 season or the 2020 season.

Bennett’s reported decision means he has knocked back the Wests Tigers, who are now widely-tipped to officially offer their coaching position to former Rabbitohs premiership coach Michael Maguire.

Maguire had been linked with Manly, Brisbane and the Tigers, but with Seibold likely at Brisbane and Des Hasler appointed to coach Manly, Wests Tigers are his only option.

The Tigers have held coach Ivan Cleary to his long-term contracted, but he is now expected to be released to join the Panthers, where he will link-up with son Nathan.

Panthers coach Cameron Ciraldo is expected to remain as a senior assistant coach.

Meanwhile, an official decision on Bennett’s successor is likely to be made at next Tuesday’s Broncos board meeting, with Seibold reportedly told he is the club’s preferred candidate.

Seibold is off contract at the Rabbitohs at the end of 2019, and is yet to sign an extension that has long been in the works for the rookie coach.

It comes after English Super League club Leeds confirmed on Wednesday night ex-Rabbitohs assistant David Furner did not have a get-out clause in his contract to leave if an NRL job became available.

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