Wayne Bennett is biting his tongue. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Wayne Bennett is biting his tongue. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Question Wayne Bennett won’t answer

IF WAYNE Bennett had some thoughts on his upcoming grudge match against former club Brisbane next week, he wasn't willing to share it on Friday night.

After watching his Rabbitohs earn a hard-fought 22-18 win over Penrith, Bennett did some shadow-boxing of his own as the focus turned to tackling the Broncos.

"Who are we playing next week?" Bennett said with a smirk post-game.

"I don't know. I'll go home and look at the diary and see who we've got next week."

When the Rabbitohs host Brisbane next week, it will have been almost five months since Bennett and Anthony Seibold swapped clubs.

It was in late October last year that Bennett, the seven-time premiership-winning coach, signed a two-year deal with South Sydney due to start in 2020.

Days later the Broncos unveiled Seibold, the reigning Dally M coach of the year, but it wasn't until early December that both men switched for this season.

It came after months of public wrangling that included Seibold publicly lashing out at Bennett for "carrying on" in what was an ugly split from the club.

The anticipated showdown also marks the 300th game of Broncos captain - and Bennett favourite - Darius Boyd, as well as Greg Inglis's farewell to fans. However, Bennett was in no mood to kick-start the build-up on Friday.

Bennett is concentrating on his Rabbits, not the Broncos.
Bennett is concentrating on his Rabbits, not the Broncos.

"What has that got to do with tonight?" he said.

Told it was about looking ahead, Bennett replied: "Well, you can look ahead. I've got tonight. I've got to go home and spend the next 24 hours looking at tonight and somewhere early in the week I'll start to look ahead."

Told coaches often look one week ahead, Bennett said: "Absolutely. I've got to finish this one yet."

Pressed on whether he anticipated mind games this week, Bennett said: "I doubt it. I doubt it."

But while Bennett was unwilling to talk about next week, the former St George Illawarra and Newcastle mentor wasn't afraid to talk State of Origin. More specifically, how star Cody Walker is seemingly fourth in line for NSW.

Walker continued his rich vein of form with another try against the Panthers, taking his tally to seven from seven games.

He also set up two more for good measure in a display against the incumbent Blues halves that is sure to catch the eye of Origin coach Brad Fittler.

"The fourth five-eighth for NSW? Yeah, he wasn't too bad," Bennett said.

Asked if he liked Origin talk, he said: "No, I detest it. They all can't play for NSW."

Told someone had to play for them, he said: "Yeah, but not four of them at five-eighth."