Jason Demetriou being groomed to take over from Wayne Bennett at Rabbitohs


Bennett himself could only smile when told about the spat between his trusty assistant and the man who replaced him at Red Hill, and was happy to take the high road. He also shot down suggestions he had orchestrated the explosive pre-game chat.

“I haven’t heard the [comments], and I’m not interested [in what Seibold said], so next question,” Bennett said. “Guys do their own thing, it’s got nothing to do with me.

Jason Demetriou was highly regarded at Brisbane before following Bennett to Souths.Credit:AAP

“I won’t stand here and be interviewed about Jason. Jason is a big boy, he’s obviously got something to say, so go and ask him, it’s his problem, not mine. If I did care I’d say something to him [Demetriou], but I haven’t said anything to him.”

When asked about Seibiold’s claims Souths’ attack had not changed much since he was at the club last season – a comment labelled ”bizarre” by Souths skipper Sam Burgess, and one which also upset several other senior Souths players – Bennett said: “I don’t care what somebody else says, it hasn’t worried me in the past and it won’t worry me today.

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“It’s not important whether I’ve changed the attack or not. I’m not here to justify what I do and don’t do. You see what we do, if you think we’ve changed, that’s great, if you don’t, write that. Why don’t you guys make some decisions.”

Bennett and Demetriou had a giggle in the middle of Redfern Oval on a murky morning after the captain’s run. Demetriou was cut loose from Brisbane just 24 hours after Seibold’s appointment late last year, but was quickly snapped up by Bennett.

Burgess has been officially ruled out of the game becase of his quad injury, while Adam Doueihi did not train but will play. Bayley Sironen completed the field session as the fill-in fullback.

Bennett knew more than most what Payne Haas and several other youngsters were more than capavle oif when he handed them their NRL starts.

“I gave a lot of them their debut. Payne got knocked out and then he did his shoulder [on debut],” Bennett said.

“He’s a wonderful player, we all knew that, the Broncos signed him to a long-term deal and he was 18 when he did that, so it was the right thing to do. He’s a good bloke with it as well. He’s got a long career in the game. It’s always hard playing in the middle but he’s made for it.”

The barbs started last weekend between both clubs before Demetriou upped the ante when he hit back at Seibold via The Courier-Mail: “Last year, in 160 minutes of football under Seibold in the finals, his Souths team managed one try. On the biggest stage in the biggest games, their attack fell down.”

Seibold, in just his second year of NRL head coaching, took the bait and told reporters on Thursday: “He has forgotten a couple of things and that’s probably why he isn’t a head coach at the moment.

“With regards to Jason, one thing I learned a long time ago is that as an assistant coach you put your head down and your bum up and you work hard. You don’t need to promote yourself. I am not sure if he is ‘dirty’ his name hasn’t come up for a few head coaching roles.”

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