The Rabbitohs gave the seven-time premiership winner their blessing to take on the Origin gig this year given the series is being played after the grand final due to the COVID pandemic.
But asked whether they would be keen on speaking to Bennett about coaching the Maroons next year, Hatcher said: “Yes. One subject would be his availability and that of anyone else.
“The bonus is we’ve got three calm, experienced individuals [including Bennett’s assistants Mal Meninga and Neil Henry] all with great ability in their own right. They’ve all gelled together and done a great job.
“We had agreed as a board to go to a full process for a two or three-year appointment and we will still go through that, but it’s going to be interesting period of time for the next little bit. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Bennett has previously said he thinks coaches can handle both club and representative commitments, and he would have an ideal stand-in at the Rabbitohs in assistant Jason Demetriou, who will take over at South Sydney in 2022. But there would need to be an agreement on behalf of all parties if he was to stay on in the job.
There is no dispute about the camaraderie he shares with his players. Bennett was seen dancing in the Queensland sheds and sharing a joke with them after they fought back from a 10-point deficit in Adelaide to take a series lead.
The bonus is we’ve got three calm, experienced individuals all with great ability in their own right
It will surely rank with one of his greatest ever coaching feats if Queensland can secure an improbable series win with victory at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night or at Suncorp Stadium next week.
The fitness of game one hero Kurt Capewell continues to remain a problem for Bennett, the Penrith utility suffering a groin complaint in the lead-up to game one and re-aggravating the injury during the match.
He failed to finish the last few minutes of the upset win and trained away from the main group on Sunday.
“Kurt did it last week when I threw a ball too far in front of him and he stretched out a little bit and did something to his adductor,” Queensland five-eighth Cameron Munster said.
“He played well on Wednesday night and wants to make sure he is right. If that means he doesn’t train all week before captain’s run, then that is what we will have to do.”
But Bennett was confident he will field the same team as the one which stunned the Blues, barring fullback AJ Brimson (foot) and Christian Welch (concussion). Valentine Holmes will make his Origin return in the No.1.
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Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.