Wayne Bennett claims Brisbane don’t need his advice but the South Sydney coach still can’t believe it took the Broncos so long to return Darius Boyd to fullback.
Bennett will be missing from the coach’s box on Friday night against his old club, facing two weeks in quarantine after admitting to dining out at a Sydney restaurant.
But he will still loom large over the game.
The game’s most-experienced coach conceded on Thursday his rivalry with the Broncos would likely still be spoken about “for the next 20 years”.
Bennett lit the fuse again this week with Broncos counterpart Anthony Seibold, denying suggestions he’d backstabbed him during their ugly coaching swap at the end of 2018.
The veteran coach did not attempt to double down on those comments on match eve, but still made his point when asked about Boyd’s return to form against Cronulla last week.
Having coached Boyd for 292 of his 329 NRL games, Bennett said he was unsurprised it’d coincided with his first game back at No.1 this year for the struggling Broncos.
“I was really pleased to see him play well (last week). He was back in his rightful position,” Bennett said.
“He’s been a remarkable player and a great fullback. Just look at his record.
“He played all those games at fullback.
“Nine out of 10 Origin series wins, never been beaten in an Australian team. Two grand finals, a Clive Churchill medal winner.”
But when asked if there was anything else about the Broncos’ rotten year that had left him miffed, Bennett was less forthcoming.
“I’m sure the chairman (Karl Morris), Paul White, and the coach have got it all under control,” Bennett said.
“They don’t need any advice from me.”
Souths have their own issues ahead of Friday clash, which shapes as a crucial one in their race to the finals.
Jason Demetriou – the man Bennett wanted to replace him at the Broncos before the fallout – will likely coach the Rabbitohs with the veteran coach is excluded.
Jack Johns will be given the tough ask of stopping David Fifita on the edge, after Jaydn Su’A was suspended and Souths opted against moving Cameron Murray.
Adam Reynolds is expected to be fit to take his spot, after suffering a stinger in his neck early in last week’s win over St George Illawarra.
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Wayne Bennett has won just five of 16 coaching against Brisbane.
* Bennett does however hold a 4-1 record over Anthony Seibold.
* Brisbane have conceded 36 points or more in their past three games. They have never done so for four straight.