JUNE 6th 2014
Back in the Dragons’ Den
Don’t be surprised to see Wayne Bennett make a shock return to the Dragons in 2015. With Bennett's future at the Knights looking uncertain in the wake of the collapse of Nathan Tinkler's ownership of the club, Bennett is assessing his options. I am hearing that high-ranking Broncos officials have now decided getting back Bennett, who brought the club into the NRL back in 1988, is not the answer. But the Dragons are a different story. The club won the premiership under the master coach in 2010 but has been on a downhill spiral ever since. Bennett remains a revered figure at Kogarah and Wollongong and fans, players and officials would welcome him back with open arms in 2015.
Bennett also has a strong relationship with Benji Marshall after working with the struggling Kiwi at World Cup level and could be the one man to get some value out of the former Tigers star. Paul McGregor, who inherited the reins from sacked coach Steve price two weeks ago, is seen only as a stop-gap measure and doesn't have the experience to sort out the mess that the Dragons have become.
Campese switching camps
Things are going from bad to worse in Canberra and I'm hearing veteran skipper Terry Campese could be the next to jump ship. Campese is being pursued by English big spenders Hull FC and after a decade and over 120 games for the Green Machine, the 29-year-old may be tempted to finish his career with one last rich payday in the UK. Campese has been plagued by injury in recent seasons and has lost some of his spark - but his departure would be another body blow to Ricky Stuart as he attempts to raise the spirits in the national capital.
The Raiders can't take a trick as they attempt to strengthen their squad after missing out on the likes of James Tedesco, Kevin Proctor, Josh Mansour and most likely Michael Ennis. But Stuart continues to chase and he has now targeted Manly's honest back-rower Tom Symonds. A hard-working forward, Symonds doesn't get many minutes at Manly due to the Sea Eagles' strong depth of back-row talent and a move to the Raiders may be in his best interests.