He’s a slender figure but Wayne Bennett casts a long shadow.
Rick Stone’s sacking by Newcastle on Monday makes him the third NRL coach since 2011 to fall after stepping into a position left vacant by the seven-time premiership coach.
Ivan Henjak was the first man to stumble while following Bennett’s footsteps, sacked by the Broncos after two seasons at Red Hill just weeks before the start of the 2011 campaign.
In May 2014, Bennett’s successor at St George Illawarra Steve Price was given the boot by the Dragons less than three years after taking over from the veteran.
Now Stone has joined the club, cut by the Knights less than a year after he regained the job that he’d lost upon Bennett’s arrival at Newcastle in 2012.
It’s a history which is sure to make Broncos assistant coach Stephen Kearney just a tad nervous.
The former New Zealand international has reportedly been anointed as Bennett’s successor when the time comes for the supercoach to hang up his clipboard.
Whether he can succeed where others have failed will now be the question he’ll have to answer when that time does come.
STUCK IN BENNY’S SHADOW – COACHES WHO’VE FALLEN AFTER SUCCEEDING BENNETT
Ivan Henjak – Brisbane (2009-11) 51 matches, 27 wins
Steve Price – St George Illawarra (2012-14) 58 matches, 22 wins
Rick Stone – Newcastle (2015) 18 matches, 6 wins