Wayne Bennett's first day as South Sydney coach anything but dull

Rugby league's greatest coach has finally landed at the Pride of the League.

After a near miss seven years ago, Wayne Bennett was officially unveiled as South Sydney's new coach on Tuesday. The six-time premiership coach took charge of his first training session at Redfern Oval in the morning, then fronted a packed media conference at lunch time.

Having been the subject of contract speculation at the Broncos all year, before learning it would not be renewed beyond 2019, officially signing a two-year deal with the Rabbitohs, enduring the scuttlebutt and horse trading behind the scenes at both clubs, and then learning he was "sacked" by voicemail, Bennett could at least see the funny side.

The questions came.

Have you found a place to stay yet, Wayne?

"I only just found the airport yesterday."

Russell Crowe's out of the country, could you stay at his place?

"Well that'd be nice. I'll be waiting for the text message."

But along with the jokes, the legendary Bennett stare came, too.

Did it hurt your ego to be sacked?

"No, it didn't. I was happy to be sacked. I'll just leave it at that, I was happy."

Seriously, that wasn't a joke.

After the Broncos had moved to sign Anthony Seibold from 2020, and Bennett himself had signed on with the Rabbitohs at the same juncture, there was seemingly only one reasonable outcome: that both men moved a year early.

The NRL's player contracting circus extends to coaches, too, these days, as clubs plan well into the future in an attempt to be as competitive as possible in a competition that has not had back-to-back winners since 1992-93.

After two separate stints in Brisbane, albeit without a premiership upon his return, Bennett may have expected some loyalty from the Broncos, his close friend of 34 years Paul White in particular. But in admitting to making contact with star Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook "a month ago" about his pending arrival at the club, as well as other Rabbitohs players about their contracts from 2020 onwards, Bennett must have seen the writing on the wall.

According to Seibold, Bennett had been "playing games".

So you're happy to be at Souths, but didn't want to let Broncos players down? The Daily Telegraph's Dean Ritchie asked.

"I'm pleased somebody's kind of getting the message. You've been a bit slow, guys, but you're kind of getting it now."

When will you give your version? Ritchie's Daily Telegraph colleague Paul Kent asked in reference to Seibold's claims.

"When I'm ready, and I'm not ready yet,"

How long do you reckon?

"You'll just have to hang around and wait, Paul."

While we may have to wait to hear Bennett's take on the events of the weekend, and how the situation played out over the last month or so, one thing is perfectly clear: his return to Sydney promises to be anything but dull.

The master coach's fourth NRL club has everything it needs to be a serious premiership contender in 2019 with Souths having only been pipped at the preliminary final stage this season. It's a similar situation to what Bennett faced at St George Illawarra, except for a title "drought" that extends to just five years rather than 31.

On that he is far more forthcoming, the reality of the expectation can't be ignored.

"It always comes down to premierships, everybody wants to ask that question," he said. "But there's a lot of work in front of us here, it wouldn't matter where you're coaching there's a lot of work in front [of you]. You need a little bit of luck, you need things to go for you; but the quality players are here, the club's geared for it.

"I've been really impressed with today, the facilities and how it all works here; the staff are really good, I could feel a real good comradeship amongst the players, a real mateship, just walking around. When you've been in enough change-rooms you kind of get it pretty quickly, so everything's in place, it's just a matter of how we play our football and how we go with injuries and the little bit of luck that we need."

After more than 15 minutes of questions, Rabbitohs skipper Sam Burgess presented Bennett with his official membership number. The coach then made his way past some diehard fans, shaking hands and posing for photos.

The Jokes were over, Bennett's version of the truth on hold. The Ringmaster exited his latest circus.

That was day one of Bennett and the Bunnies. Rugby league's greatest coach, and the Pride of the League.