'Disrespectful': Hornby says Bennett is not in charge

Ben Hornby has labelled claims Wayne Bennett is already running South Sydney as disrespectful, adamant he is in charge at the Rabbitohs.

Bennett on Wednesday hosed down suggestions he has made Souths his No.1 priority, as his ailing Dolphins prepare to face his next club on Thursday night.

The Rabbitohs have not lost a game since Bennett was appointed as next year's coach, winning five on the trot to revitalise their season.

Crucial contract calls have also been made for 2025, with Damien Cook released from the last year of his contract and Dolphin Euan Aitken set to sign.

The Dolphins are amid their own form slump, losing four of their last five to go from safely within the top four to at risk of missing the finals.

Hornby and Bennett speak regularly, with their relationship dating back to their time together as captain and coach at St George Illawarra.

Wayne Bennett, Steve Price and Ben Hornby.
Former Dragons coach Wayne Bennett and then captain Ben Hornby (R) leave a 2012 press conference.

The interim Rabbitohs mentor would not divulge on Wednesday how much of their time is spent discussing next year, but rejected any suggestion Bennett was currently coaching two clubs.

"I find it a little bit disrespectful," Hornby said.

"Not just to me, but everyone here that is doing a great job, the players included.

"We talked regularly before I took over, we've been talking regularly for more than 10 years.

"So nothing has really changed there. He's concentrating on his team, I am concentrating on mine."

Bennett was in a jovial mood on the topic on Wednesday, and was even asked by reporters whether Souths would be 1-17 on Thursday night. 

But he remains defiant on the suggestion he already has his fingerprints on movements at Maroubra, with Dolphins officials confident his priority remains on the 17th franchise.

Wayne Bennett.
Wayne Bennett barks out some orders during a Dolphins training session.

"I am not doing very much at Souths at all. I haven’t been near the club. I haven’t been near anybody," Bennett said.

"I have got a deal done. We did the deal and I am coaching the Dolphins. That is my priority and they have got a club to run this year.

"They have got good people in there and they have turned their season around.

"That is how it works. It can’t work any other way. I can’t be trying to run two clubs. That doesn’t work. I have been very committed to here.

"I have done this six or seven times in my career so it is not a challenge. It is easy to do."

Bennett also insisted he was happy to leave movements at Souths in Hornby's hands, confirming he would remain on staff next year.

"I want him to make his own calls but we have similar thoughts Ben and myself," Bennett said.

"We have been together a long time, I think six or seven years as a coach and player so he knows what I want.

"I know what Ben brings so I am more than happy with what is going on."

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