Bennett to step down for Demetriou in 2022

Jason Demetriou (r) is set to replace Wayne Bennett (c) as Souths coach from the 2022 season.
Jason Demetriou (r) is set to replace Wayne Bennett (c) as Souths coach from the 2022 season.

South Sydney head coach Wayne Bennett will be replaced by his current assistant Jason Demetriou in time for the 2022 NRL campaign.

Rabbitohs No.2 Demetriou has agreed to a new four-year deal which will see him take charge of the club when Bennett's three-year contract expires at the end of the 2021 season.

The club confirmed the news on Friday, saying the succession plan had been in place since Bennett arrived in 2018.

"Coach Bennett is contracted to the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2021 season with Demetriou lined up to take over the head coach role for the pre-season preparations leading into season 2022," a club statement read.

"The club will maintain its focus on the 2020 and 2021 seasons under coach Bennett."

For the past few years Demetriou has been Bennett's right-hand man and followed the master coach south when he was dismissed from Brisbane in 2018.

Beforehand, he was viewed as a successor to Bennett at the Broncos.

Demetriou, 44, took charge of the Rabbitohs during their recent Nines campaign and has also been an assistant at North Queensland and St George Illawarra.

The 70-year-old Bennett, who has given his blessing to the succession plan, has won seven premierships with the Broncos (six) and St George Illawarra (one).

He is the most-capped coach in rugby league history with an incredible tally of 836 games, but his next move is unclear.

Earlier this month he was replaced as England coach by former Wigan boss Shaun Wane after four years at the helm.

Australian Associated Press