Wayne Bennett felt betrayed by the Broncos.
Wayne Bennett felt betrayed by the Broncos.

Broncos’ betrayal that broke Bennett

Brisbane legend Darren Lockyer has opened up about Wayne Bennett's relationship with Broncos powerbrokers souring beyond repair when Craig Bellamy was sounded out about the prospect of replacing the master coach at Red Hill.

Bennett was reportedly informed Bellamy was someone the club was looking at to take over from him when he retired, prompting him to ask to be kept in the loop about discussions with the Melbourne coach. However, Bennett felt betrayed when reports circulated about the Broncos meeting with Bellamy without his knowledge.

Lockyer, a member of the Broncos board, was involved in the decision to sign rookie Souths coach Anthony Seibold to take charge of Brisbane in 2020. However, as the messy saga played out last season, the Broncos and Rabbitohs came to an agreement that would see them swap coaches one year early as both men took the reins at their new clubs this season.

Lockyer said relationships broke down beyond repair when news of Brisbane's approach to Bellamy became public.

"When Craig Bellamy became available, from the club's perspective, he was the future beyond Wayne, when Wayne was to retire," Lockyer said on Channel 9's 100% Footy.

"But once that approach to Craig had become public, then relationships were fractured at the club and in the end … it became untenable."

Lockyer said although he and his former coach were on speaking terms, there will always be friction between them given the former Brisbane captain's role in replacing the veteran mentor.

"We're speaking, but we're working through it," Lockyer said. "I think just with what's gone on in the past, it's always going to be there."

 

Seibold signed a five-year deal with the Broncos after leading Souths to the finals in his first campaign as an NRL coach, and Lockyer said the way he approaches the game seemed like the best fit for a Brisbane side some have tipped as genuine premiership contenders.

"Anthony, has a real philosophy around how he manages people. He also has a philosophy around the way the way he focuses on processes with the players," Lockyer said.

"He uses a lot of data, he uses a lot science but at the same time we as a committee felt that his approach, which is a new age approach, was the right approach for this current crop."

Seibold won out over former Brisbane assistant and Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters, who was reportedly upset at being snubbed by the club he has played for and coached at for much of his rugby league life.

Earlier this month month Lockyer said his relationship with his former teammate had also become strained, as well as that with Bennett, but felt it was his duty as a board member to put the club's interests ahead of his own.

"The outcome is that it has strained a great relationship between me and Wayne which is disappointing, but at the same time I knew being in that position I was in as a board member, that there was potentially going to be a strained relationship as an outcome," Lockyer said at The Courier-Mail's NRL season launch two weeks ago.

"But I am also of the belief that over time we will mend that.

"It has been tough. From the outset I envisaged there would be some strained relationships through it.

"It was highly emotional. It was played out in the media and was quite a circus there for a while. It is done now and we all have to move on."

News Corp Australia

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