Beau Scott says Newcastle NRL players have no idea if Wayne Bennett will still be coaching them next season but are hoping he will remain at the Knights.
Newcastle back-rower Beau Scott admits the Knights’ players have no idea if Wayne Bennett will be coaching them next NRL season.
Bennett did have a year left on his contract, but the agreement was with the club’s former owners, Nathan Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group (HSG), who relinquished control to the NRL last month.
The code’s governing body is in the process of putting together a new management structure and employees have had their contracts restructured, meaning Bennett will become a free agent from November 1.
The seven-time premiership winner revealed last week he was still undecided about whether he wanted to stay on and revealed there had been interest from other clubs.
The NRL is extremely keen for Bennett to remain at the club to help ensure a smooth transition when the new board is selected, and NSW star Scott said he and his teammates are also desperate for him to stay on.
“Part of the reason I ended up at Newcastle is because of him,” Scott told AAP.
“He’s given us as much indication as he has to you (the media) about what he is going to do.
“But we really do hope he stays. I guess it’s a case of time will tell.”
Scott moved to the Knights having played under Bennett for three years at St George Illawarra, who are one the clubs linked with hiring the 64-year-old, and he knows better than most just how important he is to the club.
Having been one game from last year’s grand final, Newcastle languish near the foot of the table and had to deal with the fall out from the career-ending injury that left young back-rower Alex McKinnon paralysed from the neck down.
But Scott says Bennett’s influence has been crucial in uniting the team in recent weeks as shown with back-to-back wins over North Queensland and Parramatta.
“It’s a tough situation for anyone when you are a club in our position,” Scott said.
“But he takes a lot of pressure off us.
“He’s been around a long time and, next week against the Sharks, it’s his 700th game which just shows the sort of coach he is and how he’s been able to adapt to different environments.”
The McKinnon injury rocked the game to its foundations and Scott said visits from the 23-year-old to the team sheds whenever they play in Sydney had given the players a huge lift.
“It’s has been great to see him and the progress he is making in his recovery has been encouraging,” he said.
“He’s very upbeat and has a fantastic attitude despite everything and the boys all love seeing him.”