Off the Wall


What is it about "identities" not knowing when it is time to move on?

Hard on the heels of the departure of John Winston Howard (shoved) and Richard John Sinclair Laws (jumped) the sporting equivalent of the iconic figures of politics and broadcasting - the Brisbane Broncos coach, Wayne Bennett - might be headed for a messy end to his distinguished coaching career.

Wayne Bennett is the longest serving coach in the NRL - he was appointed Broncos coach in 1987 and this year completed 20 successive seasons at the helm. He is also one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game - under his tutelage the Broncos have played in six grand finals, winning them all. He has also coached the Maroons for five series wins, and was the national team, the Kangaroos, coach for three years.

But relations between Bennett and the Broncos Board and Management have been on the decline for some time, as has been his relationship with some of the most successful and influential former Broncos players he coached.

The rugby league world was shocked in 2006 when the Sydney media broke the story that he was negotiating to leave the Broncos and take up the coaching position at the Sydney Roosters. While the deal fell through when it became public, and even though it was denied all round, there is no doubt that the deal had been done.

Relations with the Broncos Board - dominated by News Limited - have not been the same since. The Broncos knew nothing about the detailed negotiations which, if successful, would have left them without a coach for the past season.

Despite the Broncos on field and off field success, the club