Wayne Bennett officially unveiled as Dolphins’ inaugural NRL coach BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 24: Coach Wayne Bennett of the Rabbitohs speaks during a press conference after the NRL Grand Final Qualifier match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium on September 24, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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The worst-kept secret in the NRL has been confirmed, with the Dolphins officially unveiling Wayne Bennett as their inaugural NRL coach.

The Dolphins have officially unveiled Wayne Bennett as the club’s inaugural NRL coach.

The NRL’s fourth Queensland franchise will enter the league in 2023 after being awarded a licence as the competition’s 17th club.

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The Dolphins confirmed rugby league’s worst-kept secret when they announced Bennett as their coach at a press conference on Thursday.

The NRL’s newest club also channelled Michael Jordan with a press release to reveal Bennett’s signing. In 1995 the basketball legend famously dropped a two-word fax — “I’m back” — to announce his return to the NBA after an ill-fated stint in baseball.

But one of the first replies to the Dolphins’ press release, which said “I’m here”, mocked a major talking point about the franchise’s arrival into the NRL. One Twitter user simply commented underneath the social media post: “Where?”

The comment was making light of the fact the Dolphins have dropped “Redcliffe” from their name and as yet have no concrete geographical alignment attached to the club.

Bennett is seen as one of the greatest coaches, if not the greatest, in rugby league history.

He will begin working with the Dolphins as they begin to build their facilities, staff, development system and first grade squad.

Bennett left the South Sydney Rabbitohs following the team’s grand final defeat to the Penrith Panthers and remained tight-lipped when asked about his future during the finals series.

He said in August he would be moving to Queensland in 2022, but did not address the potential offers he had on the table.

“I am heading back there (to Queensland),” Bennett said at the time. “Look, there are a lot of things on the table for me next year.

“None of them will be resolved until the season’s over.”

Last week it was reported that Bennett had agreed to a three-year deal with the Dolphins, beginning from their entry into the competition in 2023.

It means Bennett will be 75-years-old by the time the contract expires at the end of the 2025 season.

On Tuesday, Panthers great Greg Alexander warned the Dolphins not to go overboard with the length of Bennett’s deal, arguing a three-year deal is more than enough to begin with.

“Three (years) is long enough,” he told SEN. “Three is long, if Wayne’s going well halfway through the second (year), they make the finals, everything’s good and the club’s happy with him, well then you extend.

“There’s no need to go over the top. Three is plenty.”

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