South Sydney moved quick to secure Wayne Bennett a parking spot at Redfern Oval.
South Sydney moved quick to secure Wayne Bennett a parking spot at Redfern Oval.

Once again we’re parked in Bennett’s gaze

Only hours after Wayne Bennett was sacked by Brisbane, a private car space was booked in his name opposite Redfern Oval.

And with good reason.

Remembering seven years ago, when Bennett first considered a deal to coach South Sydney, he suddenly baulked at the 11th-hour because, among other things, the Supercoach reckoned finding a park in Sydney was simply too tough.

Wayne Bennett had a major issue with Sydney parking when meeting with the club several years back. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Wayne Bennett had a major issue with Sydney parking when meeting with the club several years back. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Speaking with The Daily Telegraph in May, before his 800th game, Bennett revealed to colleague Paul Crawley how the eternal struggle that is this city's parking partly convinced him to knock back a lucrative Bunnies deal, and instead join the Newcastle Knights.

"When I went to see (Souths GM) Shane Richardson about the job, I couldn't find a park when I went to his house," Bennett recalled. "And I got pissed off.

"I thought, 'if this is Sydney, I don't want to be in Sydney. I can't get a park'."

Which is why by the time you read this, Bennett's name - or at the very least, his car rego - will be inked onto a space inside that gated parking lot opposite Redfern Oval, directly beneath Woolworths.

 

The club moved swiftly to secure Bennett a park at Redfern Oval this time around. Picture. Phil Hillyard
The club moved swiftly to secure Bennett a park at Redfern Oval this time around. Picture. Phil Hillyard

 

And judging by his opening day at Souths HQ, the new Bunnies boss will need it.

For say what you like about Wayne James Bennett - and, certainly, plenty are - the old bloke can still draw a crowd.

Which is no small thing.

Especially considering how little this 68-year-old grandfather has actually been revealing lately.

And even of that … well, good luck sorting how much is true.

But still on Tuesday morning at Redfern Oval, here we all were again.

Waiting on Wayne.

 

Wayne Bennett continues to captivate the rugby league community. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Wayne Bennett continues to captivate the rugby league community. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

Journalists, TV types, photographers, Souths staffers, even a couple of dozen fans holding everything from VB bottles and autograph books to what must surely be the last remaining Sony discman anywhere in Australia.

A technological relic which, coincidentally, is still only half the age of Bennett.

So how the bloody hell does he do it?

How does rugby league's winningest coach, a fella older than dirt, still carry the type of hype that sees him chased around airports, photographed through restaurant windows, even forced into using decoy cars while laying flat in escape vehicles (all 191cm of him) to avoid paparazzi?

Truly, teach the guy to punch and he could join the Expendables.

And now, on day one of his new life as South coach, here we all were again.

Hanging on whatever Wayne wanted to say.

A press conference which, by the finish, had covered everything from waxing lyrical to WTF.

Like when Bennett said he was happy to be sacked. But wouldn't say why.

Just as he wouldn't be drawn on several allegations aired by Anthony Seibold, the man with whom he traded places, in The Sunday Telegraph.

And as for that Brisbane exit leaving him even a little heartbroken?

"Do I look heartbroken," Bennett shrugged.

Um, no, coach.

You look exactly like that bloke who never has to find parking again.



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