Latrell Mitchell 'might have to leave' as Wayne Bennett confirms South Sydney NRL move

The veteran coach has confirmed he'll be coaching the Rabbitohs in 2025.

Wayne Bennett has confirmed he will be coaching South Sydney in 2025 and says he's confident he can get the best out of maligned fullback Latrell Mitchell. Bennett confirmed the rumours on Saturday that he'll be back coaching the Rabbitohs next season, and will meet with Souths CEO Blake Solly on Monday to finalise what will likely be a three-year deal.

The 74-year-old coached the Bunnies from 2019 to 2021. His biggest task in returning to the club will be getting the likes of Mitchell and Cody Walker back to their best amid a tumultuous time that has seen the pair cop plenty of criticism.

Wayne Bennett and Latrell Mitchell.
Wayne Bennett is confident he can get Latrell Mitchell back to his best. Image: Getty

Bennett has worked with both players previously, and knows how to get the best out of the much-maligned stars. “Latrell was recruited when I was there and I have a lot of time for Latrell,” Bennett told the Daily Telegraph. “I will have no problems working with anybody at Souths, including Latrell."

However the supercoach made the startling admission that one of he or Mitchell might be forced to leave the club if things go pear-shaped. “If there ends up being a problem, one of us will have to leave, but I don’t expect any issues," he added. “I’m not going back to Souths because I dislike anyone. I know the people there."

Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell.
Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell in action for South Sydney.

Bennett is also keeping his options open and hasn't ruled out coaching into his 80s. His coaching career may go even longer than his second stint with Souths, with an expansion franchise almost certain to be keen on his services.

"Fit Papua New Guinea in and a couple of other expansion teams in between," Bennett half-joked while speaking to reporters on Saturday. "I could be in Perth. I didn't know I wanted to continue to coach until I came back (to the Dolphins) and did the two years here. I will do my time at Souths and if I want to coach again, I won't have someone tell me I can't. I will make the decision myself."

On Friday, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys said Bennett was still the priority to coach an expansion team after he finishes at the Rabbitohs - a development which would have him coaching beyond 80. "Thanks for thinking ahead for me," Bennett said on Saturday. "I'll take a look at my birth certificate."

The NRL has a plan to build a compound for players and their families to live in Port Moresby if a PNG side is introduced to the competition in the near future. "Let's see if they make a decision if PNG is coming into the comp and then we will start worrying about compounds and who is coaching them," Bennett said when asked if he would live in a compound.

"There is a lot of push from the (Federal) government about an 18th team being in PNG. That is the reality. It may be difficult to do, but from a government point of view they think the relationship with Papua New Guinea is important. That is where the 18th team will come from."


Bennett said Perth also deserves recognition amid their push for a team. "So it should," Bennett said. "There's no problems with Western Australia. We were there before (with the Western Reds) and should never have left in 1998.

"I see the game growing all the time. I don't think 18 teams is going to be the end of it, or 20 teams. When I was a little boy there were six million people (in Australia) when we had the Olympics in 1956. We are close to 30 million now. We will have to keep expanding."

with AAP