Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bennett's 'Underlings' Proving a Breed Apart; Master Coach Leaving Legacy on Clubs

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bennett's 'Underlings' Proving a Breed Apart; Master Coach Leaving Legacy on Clubs

Article excerpt


NEWCASTLE will have Wayne Bennett, but no fewer than five other NRL clubs will benefit from the master coach's legacy when season 2012 kicks off.

As well as the Knights, rival clubs Melbourne, Brisbane, Parramatta, South Sydney and St George Illawarra will all, to some degree, bear Bennett's fingerprints.

The Storm's Craig Bellamy, the Broncos' Anthony Griffin and the Dragons' Steve Price have all worked under the seven-time premiership winner. The Eels' Stephen Kearney has, incredibly, worked above Bennett in the New Zealand set-up.

Likely Rabbitohs boss Michael Maguire, like Kearney a former Bellamy assistant at the Storm, is a generation removed but at 37 ensures the lineage will be long lived.

More Bennett protA[c]gA[c]s could be on the way too. Former Broncos stars Kevin Walters and Allan Langer are assistants and league legend Darren Lockyer has declared a desire to coach and even looks like he's morphing into a Bennett clone.

The success-breeds-success model is reminiscent of the dynasty that emerged behind Warren Ryan, the former Canterbury mentor who won premierships in the 1980s.

The old school, defence-obsessed taskmaster, who had worked below infamous face-slapping pioneer Roy Masters at Western Suburbs, watched many of his former players take up the coaching reins, with varying levels of success.

Steve Folkes and Michael Hagan won premierships, Mick Potter found success in Europe, while Andrew Farrar, Wayne Pearce, Paul Langmack and Terry Lamb rode the first grade football rollercoaster.

Chris Anderson, who won premierships with the Bulldogs and Melbourne and went on to coach Australia, also played under Ryan but says he deliberately took his coaching in a different direction.

Anderson, who also coached Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters, knows success in ruby league isn't guaranteed by anything, including the supercoaches' aunderlingsa, as he refers to them.

aIf a bloke has success, that doesn't necessarily carry on that the bloke underneath is going to,a he said.

aBut they learn some good lessons off these blokes so coaches that have success, if you're around while they're doing that, you're obviously going to take a little bit of that in. …

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