live Infotainment Factory: Unexpected Bennett moment's title impact

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Sunday, 25 August 2019

Unexpected Bennett moment's title impact


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'Dour' is one word often used to describe Wayne Bennett. 'Stoic' is another. Throw in 'ruthless', 'competitor' and 'winner' and you've covered most of the key hits in a word association game.

The words 'joyous', 'jubilant' and 'dancer' rarely have use when characterising the master coach, but on Friday night we were treated to a rarely-seen side of Bennett's personality when dressing room cameras captured his celebration with a raucous Rabbitohs team after they squeaked home in one of the grudge matches of the year against the Broncos.

While his team's performance was commendable it was not the kind of match to put the wind up the likes of the Roosters and the Storm as we look ahead to the pointy end of September.

Rabbitohs' brilliant reaction to Bennett

However, according to Peter Sterling, the Souths players' reaction to their overjoyed coach is worth something looking ahead and could yet be the most significant visual of the season.

"If I'm a South Sydney fan, this is the best sight I have seen all year," Sterling told James Bracey for Wide World of Sports' Sterlo's Wrap.

"This is an insight into the relationship between Wayne Bennett and his players and how much this game meant. But the bond that is there, and a lot of people have this, I suppose, impression of Wayne Bennett as a stoic figure; there's nothing stoic about that and that's the kind of warm relationship he has with his players.

"That's why players play for Wayne Bennett and it was in evidence there for everybody to see, a rare glimpse inside, and as a Souths fan I get a lot of confidence out of that following what's been a flat spot for them."

The Rabbitohs celebrate a try against the Broncos.

Sterling then predicted that the Rabbitohs' win over the Broncos would "springboard them" into top form going into the finals, a potentially ominous warning given the quality of their early season performances that put them into premiership favouritism in the eyes of some pretty good judges.

One such judge was Andrew Johns, who has only in the last fortnight tempered his lofty expectations for a side laced with Test and Origin players in key positions and coached by the most successful mentor in rugby league history.

While Johns now sees the Roosters as the class of the field, the "magic dust" of Bennett has kept him from completely writing off Souths' chances, despite an awful slump that has them in a cut-throat battle with the Sea Eagles and Raiders for the final spot in the top four.

Not only has Bennett proven his worth time and time again when finals roll around, he's got two premiership-winning superstars with the same surname to come back into his side for September.

Sunday Footy Round 23 Wrap

"They're thereabouts," Johns said. "They've got the Warriors this weekend in New Zealand, I've heard Sam (Burgess) won't play in that game but he'll be back for the blockbuster the following Thursday against the Roosters.

"If they get in the top four, it's all about timing this time of the year, they get George Burgess back from that (eye) gouge (suspension), and they're the sort of team with that magic dust that Wayne Bennett's got that you never know."

'Dour' is one word often used to describe Wayne Bennett. 'Stoic' is another. Throw in 'ruthless', 'competitor' and 'winner' and you've covered most of the key hits in a word association game.

The words 'joyous', 'jubilant' and 'dancer' rarely have use when characterising the master coach, but on Friday night we were treated to a rarely-seen side of Bennett's personality when dressing room cameras captured his celebration with a raucous Rabbitohs team after they squeaked home in one of the grudge matches of the year against the Broncos.

While his team's performance was commendable it was not the kind of match to put the wind up the likes of the Roosters and the Storm as we look ahead to the pointy end of September.

Rabbitohs' brilliant reaction to Bennett

However, according to Peter Sterling, the Souths players' reaction to their overjoyed coach is worth something looking ahead and could yet be the most significant visual of the season.

"If I'm a South Sydney fan, this is the best sight I have seen all year," Sterling told James Bracey for Wide World of Sports' Sterlo's Wrap.

"This is an insight into the relationship between Wayne Bennett and his players and how much this game meant. But the bond that is there, and a lot of people have this, I suppose, impression of Wayne Bennett as a stoic figure; there's nothing stoic about that and that's the kind of warm relationship he has with his players.

"That's why players play for Wayne Bennett and it was in evidence there for everybody to see, a rare glimpse inside, and as a Souths fan I get a lot of confidence out of that following what's been a flat spot for them."

The Rabbitohs celebrate a try against the Broncos.

Sterling then predicted that the Rabbitohs' win over the Broncos would "springboard them" into top form going into the finals, a potentially ominous warning given the quality of their early season performances that put them into premiership favouritism in the eyes of some pretty good judges.

One such judge was Andrew Johns, who has only in the last fortnight tempered his lofty expectations for a side laced with Test and Origin players in key positions and coached by the most successful mentor in rugby league history.

While Johns now sees the Roosters as the class of the field, the "magic dust" of Bennett has kept him from completely writing off Souths' chances, despite an awful slump that has them in a cut-throat battle with the Sea Eagles and Raiders for the final spot in the top four.

Not only has Bennett proven his worth time and time again when finals roll around, he's got two premiership-winning superstars with the same surname to come back into his side for September.

Sunday Footy Round 23 Wrap

"They're thereabouts," Johns said. "They've got the Warriors this weekend in New Zealand, I've heard Sam (Burgess) won't play in that game but he'll be back for the blockbuster the following Thursday against the Roosters.

"If they get in the top four, it's all about timing this time of the year, they get George Burgess back from that (eye) gouge (suspension), and they're the sort of team with that magic dust that Wayne Bennett's got that you never know."

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