Former England coach stresses patience is key in Dolphins project as signings stall

Former England boss Wayne Bennett has taken the reins at the NRL’s newest club the Dolphins but has only managed to secure one signing ahead of the 2023 season when they’ll make their NRL debut as the competition’s 17th team.

Bennett is one of the finest coaches to grace the game overseeing Canberra’s first Grand Final appearance in 1987 and a Queensland revolution at Brisbane overseeing their development from the moment they joined the competition in 1988 helping the club to six Premierships over the next two decades. He then achieved success with St George Illawarra Dragons as they were crowned Champions in 2010.

Since he’s taken Brisbane back to the Grand Final in 2015 and took Souths to the decider as recently as this year. He also achieved great success as England boss guiding the national team to two series wins over New Zealand in 2015 and 2018 as well as the World Cup Final in 2017.

So, he appears to be the perfect man for the job at the Dolphins but has only secured one signing so far despite having over a month to negotiate with off contract players with the window opening on November 1st.

The club have signed Melbourne second-rower Felise Kaufusi but need another 29 players in the next 11 months but have missed out on plenty of high-profile signatures whilst linked stars like Kalyn Ponga have shut down rumours of a move to the Dolphins.

However, Bennett has stressed in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that patience is the key for the Dolphins. He stated: “We’ll just be patient. We’re not building a team for one season, we’re building a team for a lifetime. It’s important that all the decisions are made for the right reasons. That’s being patient, that’s being vision making.

“There’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet. Coaches will get disgruntled with players throughout the season, that type of stuff. There’s another off-season in front of us. I’m not fazed.”

He did however note how difficult it is to recruit players for this kind of project: “The other challenge for us is we don’t have players signed. The players know who will be coaching them, but they don’t know who they are going to be playing with.”

The Dolphins have been recently linked with the likes of Matt Dufty, Jack Bird, Corey Horsburgh and Siosiua Taukeiaho. However, rumours persistently link Taukeiaho with a move to Catalans Dragons in 2023.

Ultimately, missing out on players doesn’t bother Bennett however with the former Great Britain boss insisting he wants to build something that can last as he did at Brisbane: “I don’t want to build a quick fix, I don’t want to build something made of straw.

“I didn’t do that at the Broncos, I’m not going to do that at the Dolphins.”

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