Wayne Bennett has wasted little time stamping his authority in his Broncos return, scrapping the co-captaincy and vowing to end his career at Brisbane.
At 64, Wayne Bennett reckons he finally has enough experience to handle what he believes is the most high pressure job in rugby league.
But the returning Broncos coach was just like the Bennett of old on Monday, stamping his authority from the outset.
On his first official day back, Bennett made two bold calls.
He will scrap predecessor Anthony Griffin’s co-captaincy model next year.
And in a sign he would be grooming assistant Kevin Walters for the top job, Bennett vowed to end his glittering career at the Broncos.
The poker-faced master coach joked that “by his standards” he was very excited to be back on a three-year deal.
Indeed the seven-time, premiership-winning mentor is famously hard to read.
But he did drop his guard momentarily on Monday, admitting he felt just as apprehensive as he did when he first arrived in 1988.
“We were a new club and did not know what our future would be,” he said.
“I come back here now to a well-established club with a great reputation in the game … it’s not a basket case because I can tell you I have been at some basket cases.
“But I am still as challenged as I was that day in 1988.
“But I am better prepared to handle that.”
Bennett said six years away (St George Illawarra 2009-11; Newcastle 2012-14) made him realise how demanding his 21 years as Brisbane foundation coach had been.
Still, he did not baulk at a return.
“I never thought the opportunity would come again,” he said after meeting Broncos staff and players on Monday morning.
“One of the things that I learned while I have been away is that this is the most pressured job in rugby league because of the expectations that come with this club.
“The other two clubs I was at had their challenging moments.
“But I never felt the pressure there that I always did at the Broncos.
“It’s a challenge but one I am up for. It’s one I want to meet.”
Corey Parker and Justin Hodges shared the captaincy this season.
Bennett said he had not decided on who would be handed the reins in 2015.
But he did confirm his interest in Newcastle fullback Darius Boyd and imprisoned forward Russell Packer who is eligible for parole in January.
And he was adamant he would see out his career in a bid to help Brisbane – who won six titles from 1992-2006 under Bennett – regain their aura.
“Some of it (aura) has probably left the place a little bit but once the team plays to its potential it will come back,” he said.
“But it’s my intention not to leave this club. I’m back to stay.
“I won’t become involved with another club.
“I spent 21 years of my life here which is a third of my life, it’s always been important to me.”