4th December 2018, 15:47 | englandrl
Wayne Bennett has made a shock early switch to link up with England trio Sam, Tom and George Burgess, as he took over as head coach of South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday.
The England coach was due to take the helm at the Rabbitohs in 2020 but news came out on Sunday that he would take over as coach from 2019, after being relieved of his duties at former club Brisbane Broncos at the weekend.
The move saw a direct switch with Anthony Seibold, who has switched the Rabbitohs for the Broncos, moving in the opposite direction.
Speaking to the media for the first time since taking the new role, Bennett said he was ‘happy to be sacked’ by the Broncos ahead of staring his new coaching chapter in the NRL with the Rabbitohs.
“Half past three on Sunday afternoon is the first I heard about it,” Bennett said at today’s Rabbitohs’ press conference.
“I’m pleased to be here and I’m pleased to be here on my terms in the sense that I didn’t have to leave the Broncos, I was asked to leave. I’ve got a clear conscience.
“The first training session today went well. It’s going to make it easier for me to the make the transition with very little notice. It’s a pleasure to be at a club with such great history.
“I feel like all the support I need as a coach, in the support of the board and those that are in those positions, and I’ve got that here in terms of the CEO so I can enjoy what I’m doing.”
Bennett, who has initially signed a three-year deal with the Rabbitohs, is also excited to be working with the Burgess brothers on a weekly basis, having first coached them with England during the 2016 Four Nations.
“I did feel welcomed – Sam gave me a cuddle!” Bennett joked.
“I was sorry Tom and George weren’t here because they would have cuddled me too!
“We’ve worked closely in the England team together and there’s a great rapport. I think Sam’s a fine guy and a great leader and he’ll be a great help to me here.”
Great to have the big fella on board. South Sydney members and fans are in for a great treat. See you all soon 👌🏼👌🏼 https://t.co/v9syS5umVr— Sam Burgess (@SamBurgess8) December 4, 2018
Sam Burgess, who is set to return for the Rabbitohs in the new year after missing England’s series win over New Zealand after undergoing shoulder and wrist surgery added: “He’s a good man and it will be good to have him around.
“I’ve worked with him with England so I know what he’s about and I think he’ll fit very well into the club.“