Bennett Keeps Them Guessing

Wayne Bennett has refused to comment on growing speculation he will quit as Queensland State of Origin coach next year.

Michael Hagan (Newcastle), John Lang (Penrith), Matthew Elliott (Canberra) and Trevor Gillmeister (Ipswich Jets) have all been mentioned this week as Bennett's possible replacement.

But Bennett declined to speak on Wednesday to a throng of journalists at a press conference to announce retired Brisbane forward Andrew Gee's appointment to a new development role to foster junior talent with the Aspley Devils Leagues Club.

Former winger Michael Hancock is involved in a similar joint venture with the Greenbank club to develop talent in the Logan district on Brisbane's south side.

Media reports this week say Bennett has already told the Broncos he will not coach Queensland next season.

The speculation took off after Brisbane bowed out of the NRL finals last Sunday, crashing to the club's eighth successive loss following a draining Origin campaign.

Bennett made the statement after the Penrith loss that Brisbane needed him more than Queensland.

But both the Broncos hierarchy and the Queensland Rugby League said they had not been officially told by Bennett if he planned to continue or step down.

Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen side-stepped Bennett's Origin future, telling media representatives he preferred to comment on Gee's appointment with the Brisbane junior club.

"Wayne has a lot of thinking to do over the next few weeks and I'm sure when he's made up his mind what he is doing he will make that public," said Cullen.

"Those reports certainly haven't come from the club and they haven't come from Wayne.

"Today is really about Aspley and the great contribution they're making to rugby league and out of respect to them we should be talking about this program with Andrew Gee."

Queensland Rugby League managing director Ross Livermore said when Bennett made a decision he would not announce it through the media.

"When Wayne has made up his mind I'm sure he will come and have a chat to us and let us know first," said Livermore.

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