Wayne Bennett will depart from his position as head coach at St George from the end of the season, the club have announced.
Bennett, 61, who has coached the club to two minor premierships, one NRL premiership and a World Club Challenge title, has decided not to renew his contract.
“My time at the Dragons has been some of the most enjoyable of my coaching career,” said Bennett. “I have worked with a Board and CEO who have been totally supportive of all things required to make a rugby league club work from a coaching point of view.
“I have also worked with an extremely dedicated and outstanding group of young men that is the football team and the staff that supports the team has also been a pleasure to work with.
“However, I believe that we have achieved what my arrival at St George Illawarra was all about, the Premiership and in view of that, I think it is right for me to leave at the end of the season.
Despite a generous offer from the club for him to remain in place, Bennett says the time is right to move on.
Said Bennett: “The financial offer from the Dragons was extremely gracious and far exceeded my expectations but for me it is not about the money, it is about moving onto the next challenge and so it is with sincere gratitude and thanks that I express my appreciation for the way I have been received by all who are either a part of the Club or the magnificent members and supporters of the big “red v” who have stood behind me since my first day at the Dragons.
“My commitment and dedication to the Club will not waiver with this decision, we still have a long season ahead of us and it will be business as usual for me, the staff and players,” added Bennett.
Current assistant coach Steve Price will take charge in 2012.