Broncos Farewell Bennett, Roosters Name Replacement For Cronk
Two huge late-breaking pieces of NRL news this Tuesday afternoon while we all wait for the Billy Slater decision later this evening.
In NRL Grand Final news, Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk -- who looks like the proverbial chook with the broken wing with his injured shoulder -- has been named as a reserve with the unfamiliar number 23 on his back.
Being on the reserves list means he sits outside the official squad of 17, which is comprised of 13 starting players and four bench players, but can still push his way into the 17 if he somehow defies medical science and recovers in time.
But in all likelihood, Cronk will miss the decider, with Roosters super sub Mitch Aubusson the man pencilled in to take his number 7 jersey.
We'll know more about that later this week.
Meanwhile, we now know a lot more about the future of the NRL's most successful and long-serving coach, Wayne Bennett, whose last year at the Broncos will be 2019.
The Broncos announced this afternoon on their website that the 68-year-old will finish up after his contract expires at the end of next season.
Broncos Chairman Karl Morris said he and Bennett agreed that he would see out his current contract to the end of next season.
"Having the decision made now puts an end to speculation and allows a clear focus on getting ready for next season," the veteran of 809 NRL games said.
"I firmly believe in the playing group we have here at the club."
Bennett has won seven titles as head coach in his rugby league coaching career, six of them with the Broncos. Indeed, all of the Broncos titles have come with him at the helm.
The iconic rugby league figure literally came within one second of delivering another Broncos title in 2015 -- in his return to his spiritual home after stints at Newcastle and St George/Illawarra -- before North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt scored in the corner on the final siren, and Johnathan Thurston kicked a grand final-winning field goal in golden point extra time.
Since then, the Broncos have made the finals in 2016 and 2017 but never really threatened for a premiership.
Success is measured by trophies at the NRL's best-supported club, and there are those who feel the great mentor's time may have passed. The Broncos say they're in "no rush" to find a replacement. Melbourne Storm super coach Craig Bellamy was linked with the club earlier this year but opted to stay down south.