George Burgess and Sam Burgess celebrate with Cameron Murray (centre) after the Rabbitohs' victory over Manly on Friday night.  Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
George Burgess and Sam Burgess celebrate with Cameron Murray (centre) after the Rabbitohs' victory over Manly on Friday night. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Bennett admits to stuffing up half-time address to Rabbitohs

SUPER coach Wayne Bennett has admitted to giving South Sydney the wrong half-time speech in their NRL semi-final clash against Manly on Friday night.

Bennett was so filthy with his team's first-half effort that he left the coach's box and headed to the sheds with 10 minutes to go before the break.

Unaware that Cameron Murray had scored in the final minute to give his team a two-point half-time lead, Bennett tried to rally his troops for a comeback victory.

"I'm talking like we're losing because I think we were four points behind. Honestly that's what I believed," Bennett said post-game.

"And anyway, (assistant coach Jason Demetriou) said a couple of things and he kept talking about the three tries we scored.

"And I'm thinking 'we've only scored two. But just shut your mouth, Wayne. We've scored two, he's miscalculated.'

"So I've given my half-time-we're-behind speech: 'Let's make sure we're in front at the end of the game.'"

It was at that point Bennett said captain Sam Burgess pulled his coach aside and informed him they were in fact in front.

"I said, 'Piss off Sam, what are you talking about?' He said, 'Coach, we're leading 18-16.' I had no idea we'd scored. I had no idea at all.

"So I changed the speech again very quickly. I started clapping and cheering and said, "We're in front boys. Let's stay in front.'"

Liam Knight and Cameron Murray are jubilant after the Rabbitohs' win. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
Liam Knight and Cameron Murray are jubilant after the Rabbitohs' win. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

But even that rev-up failed to work, with the Rabbitohs twice forced to come from behind in the second half before finally reclaiming the lead in the 71st minute and going on to win 34-26.

Bennett conceded that, at one point, his thoughts turned to the summer.

"With 20 minutes to go, I'm in preseason next year, what I gotta do with these guys. My season's over," he said.

"I'm feeling like we're not going to be at training on Monday.

"Twenty minutes later, we're sitting here going to Canberra."

It's there, in front of an expected full house at GIO Stadium, where the Rabbitohs will face the Raiders next Friday night for a spot in the grand final.

The contest will include up to seven Englishmen, led by rival club captains Burgess and Josh Hodgson, as well as breakout star John Bateman.

"All the English boys playing each other, that'll be pretty special. There's seven of them, and I've all coached them in the Test team," Bennett said.

"Some of them I haven't coached, the other three, and I respect them enormously, as much as I do the Burgess brothers.

"There'll be a fair bit of on the line with those guys. I know their competitiveness, I know what they all bring.

"It'll be a great occasion. I'm just pleased to be there."

News Corp Australia

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