Bennett busted playing both sides
WAYNE Bennett has reportedly been sprung already recruiting players for South Sydney.
The veteran coach has previously ruled out leaving the Broncos before his contract expires at the end of the 2019 season, but reports on Thursday claim he has already been pulling his sleeves up for South Sydney.
The Australian's Brent Read tweeted on Thursday the Rabbitohs have reached out to Merrin under the instruction of Bennett.
It was reported last week Penrith was prepared to grant Merrin a release from his contract before the start of the 2019 NRL season following reports Leeds Rhinos had offered a rich four-year deal.
However, Merrin's future has been left clouded by the interest from South Sydney.
According to reports, the Bunnies' play for Merrin is for him to join the club immediately.
Bennett, however, is not contracted to join South Sydney until the end of the 2019 season when his two-year deal begins.
His position at Brisbane would be left completely untenable if it is confirmed he has already been scouting for South Sydney with a full season left on his Brisbane contract.
It is widely expected that Brisbane and South Sydney will come to an agreement to swap their head coaches before the start of pre-season training in coming weeks.
However, reports claim the hurdle remains Bennett's demand to be paid out the full value of his coaching contract with the Broncos.
Brisbane on Wednesday finally confirmed South Sydney mentor Seibold would be their new coach in 2020.
Bennett said he had not ruled out the Brisbane board asking him to leave 12 months early after falling out with Broncos chief executive Paul White this year over the club's coaching transition.
It is believed a 2019 swap has stalled, with Brisbane reportedly baulking at paying South Sydney up to $500,000 to allow Seibold to take over the Broncos reins next year.
There were fears Bennett may influence Broncos players such as Tevita Pangai, James Roberts and Matt Lodge to leave for South Sydney with him in 2020 if he stayed on as Brisbane coach next year.
"It's a strange one if they stay at their clubs next year but I don't think it will make a difference," Broncos great Willie Carne said.
"And I think the Broncos will get behind Anthony when he is here. For Wayne, South Sydney looks like the next challenge he needs."
Seibold's four-year contract with Brisbane also only begins in 2020.
- with AAP