Fittler looking beyond grudge match for Souths-Brisbane

It’s been billed as a grudge match between Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold but for Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler tonight’s NRL blockbuster between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium could be a dress rehearsal for an even bigger stage.

Rabbitohs coach Bennett and Broncos coach Seibold will face each other for the first time since they swapped clubs under messy circumstances at the end of last season in a match that will give players an opportunity to press their State of Origin claims.

The Rabbitohs team includes Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues hooker Damien Cook and hopefuls Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds, Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham, while the Broncos side includes Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues centre James Roberts and hopefuls Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai Junior, Payne Haas, Jack Bird and Kotoni Staggs.

“Everyone’s talking about the grudge match with the coaches but I’m looking at the field and there’s a lot of players out there we want to perform well,” Fittler told nswrl.com.au

“Cam Murray and Tevita play lock forward (so I’ll) watch how those two go each other and we mentioned all the (Broncos) big guys in the middle (up against the Burgess brothers).

“The South Sydney halves had a fantastic game against Penrith so we’ll see if they can do it again. Cody Walker was fantastic and Adam Reynolds set up the game and allowed Cody to play his style. To watch them the way they performed under pressure and to score that try at the death and end up with the result was a great sign.

“I’m very interested in what’s happening on the field, not so much off the field.”

Bearing that in mind, Fittler still said whichever coach ended up with bragging rights after tonight’s match would sleep a little easier by the time the dust had settled.

“Both coaches would really like their team to go out and fight hard for them because when they put their head down at night the one who gets the win is going to go to bed pretty happy,” Fittler said.