Souths hoping to weave magic with early coach signing

Jai Arrow says it would be "ideal" if South Sydney could sign Wayne Bennett at the end of Magic Round as the Rabbitohs battle a season that the second-rower laments keeps finding a way to get worse.

Seven-time premiership-winning coach Bennett has met with the Rabbitohs about possibly returning to the club he led to the 2021 grand final, but refuted media reports this week that he had already agreed to a new deal.

Rabbitohs powerbrokers are expected to hold more talks at the conclusion of this weekend's Magic Round to home in on the coach, who has been their No.1 target since sacking Jason Demetriou in April.

Arrow earned his NRL debut under Bennett at Brisbane and was lured to Souths by the master coach, but is still none the wiser as to the enigmatic Dolphins mentor's next move.

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett.
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has met with the Rabbitohs about possibly returning to the club.

He hopes a deal can be struck while Rabbitohs higher-ups are in Queensland for Magic Round.

"That'd be ideal," Arrow said.

"Obviously I've heard some things in the media. He's being himself (in the media) as he usually is. I'd obviously like to have a coach locked up pretty soon, and whether it's him or not, we'll see."

Asked whether the Bennett circus was proving a distraction, Arrow said distractions had become the norm at Souths this season.

Amid their coaching upheaval, the last-placed Rabbitohs are battling both the worst injury crisis and win-loss record in the league.

"We've had a lot of distractions this year," Arrow said.

"It is what it is, it's just one of those things that as a player you've just got to put up with and enjoy the ride.

"Obviously it hasn't been ideal for us this year, and when you think things can't get worse for us, somehow it does.

"It's an interesting year, but I'm loving every moment of it. The more adversity you overcome, the better it feels. I wouldn't say (the Bennett speculation) is a distraction, it's a bit of fun."

The Magic-Round clash against similarly down-and-out North Queensland looms as the Rabbitohs' best chance yet to score a maiden win under interim coach Ben Hornby.

Both sides are on five-game losing streaks ahead of Saturday night's clash.

"We've just got to focus on ourselves at the moment and worry about what we're doing this year. Tough outing against the Cowboys this week," Arrow said.

"The defence will have to be on, because it hasn't been lately."

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