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'Presence and aura': Bennett backed to make history after agreeing $3m multi-year deal to return to Souths

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Wayne Bennett has agreed to terms on a $3 million, three-year deal to return to South Sydney, according to a report.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the agreement was made after the Dolphins coach met with Rabbitohs officials on Monday.

South Sydney officials have reportedly lined up a meeting with Bennett at Magic Round this weekend. He’s expected to finalise the deal.

The SMH said the contract would include performance bonuses as Bennett attempts to lift the club from the doldrums.

Rabbitohs officials are reportedly reluctant to celebrate the deal given Bennett’s history of late changes of mind.

He has previously reneged on verbal agreements to join the Sydney Roosters, and the Dragons.

The links between Bennett and his former club have been strong for weeks following the dismissal of Jason Demetriou, with Russell Crowe heavily involved.

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Bennett has a strong relationship with Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker from his previous stint at the club and his return could be the key to unlocking their potential with both players struggling for form in 2024.

Parramatta had also been tossed up as a landing spot for Bennett after he completes his two-year mission to establish the Dolphins in the NRL before handing over the coaching reins to Kristian Woolf.

Bennett has guided the Dolphins into the top four this season with a 6-3 record heading into their Magic Round encounter with the Wests Tigers this Sunday.

Rabbitohs veteran Damien Cook recently said the legendary coach could restore the team to the top of the NRL.

The current Dolphins mentor has already won premierships with Brisbane and St George Illawarra, and is one shy of joining Arthur Halloway as an eight-time premiership winner.

No coach in the game’s history has won premierships at three clubs.

With an aging roster at the top end in South Sydney, there is an argument Bennett faces a massive challenge in three years to achieve such glory.

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the revealing of the Dolphins Heritage Round jersey during a Dolphins NRL press conference at Suncorp Stadium on October 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

But No.9 Cook was adamant the Rabbitohs have the cattle to return to the top of the NRL under Bennett.

If Bennett does return to South Sydney, he is likely to find 12 players remaining from his 2021 squad that made the grand final.

Cook has no doubt the 74-year-old’s ‘magic dust’ would still produce results.

“It works everywhere he goes,” Cook said. “The Dolphins, it’s working there at the moment.

“There are players on the field that have that presence and aura about them: he’s that coach.”

with AAP

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