Bennett v Broncos: No sign of tension easing
Wayne Bennett could exact the ultimate revenge on Brisbane this week by pushing Anthony Seibold's Broncos coaching career to the brink of extinction.
Bennett and the Broncos are rivals in rugby league's coldest war, with no sign of tension easing in relations which soured after Bennett and Seibold swapped coaching roles at Souths and the Broncos before last season.
Bennett reportedly took months for his anger to subside after his sacking from the Broncos, and had to be talked out of taking legal action.
Former Bronco Ben Ikin, who is Bennett's son-in-law, said both coaches had deep-seated motivation for Friday night's game which stretched far beyond the routine pressures of the regular season.
"For Seibold and Bennett, no matter what happened before this week, they are intent on winning this one for very specific reasons," Ikin said.
"There is just more emotion involved against your old club, against the coach whose job you took, and it does sharpen your focus.''
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Bennett's fury still bubbles close to the surface. Only last month he blasted Broncos chairman Karl Morris for intimating Bennett left Seibold with a decaying roster.
Bennett also took a rare public shot at Seibold, saying "there is a lot of talent there under Seibold but no one is playing to their talent".
Ikin said the intriguing rivalry involved two coaches of vastly contrasting methods.
"The master and the apprentice tends to be a throwaway line but, in this case, it really does describe it.
"Seibold is learning his trade. Bennett is a master coach. Seibold has a lot of knowledge. Bennett is very knowing. It is the difference between theory and wisdom.
"At one point Bennett was where Seibold is now.
"They are very different. Wayne has a very simple core philosophy and has a great self-discipline about making sure his team can focus and deliver on those things.
"Anthony seems to have a million different theories. It does, at times, show in their performances. They are struggling to embrace it. So Anthony is still testing those theories.
"I doubt whether Wayne would ever had such a complex view on rugby league as Anthony has. Wayne has this ability to strip things back to what works by just clearing out the mind."
Both sides will be desperate for different reasons. Souths, with six wins from 12 games, need to shore up their finals prospects where the Broncos, with just three wins for the season, are playing for their coach's future.