South Sydney’s Wayne Bennett and Manly’s Des Hasler have taken pot shots at the referees following the Rabbitohs’ thrilling 21-20 NRL win on Saturday, continuing the game’s whistle-blowing woes.
South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold wasted no time turning up the heat on the Sydney Roosters ahead of their NRL preliminary final next week.
He may be a rookie, but Anthony Seibold is no shrinking violet.
The South Sydney coach has thrown the first barb at fierce rivals the Sydney Roosters ahead of their NRL grand final qualifier, saying all the pressure will be on the preseason favourites.
The Rabbitohs advanced to their first preliminary since their breakthrough premiership in 2014 after edging St George Illawarra with a thrilling 13-12 victory on Saturday.
The semi-final win sets up a mouth-watering preliminary final against the Roosters in what is certain to be a sellout Allianz Stadium crowd next Saturday.
His side had barely finished celebrating the victory when Seibold turned the heat on counterpart Trent Robinson by quickly seizing underdog status.
“They’ve had a good rest, I imagine, this weekend. And they’ll be sitting there waiting. Hopefully we get a full stadium at Allianz. I’m really keen to put some pressure on them,” he said.
He was quick to remind the Roosters about how they’ve reached the grand final qualifier in four of the past six seasons, including their premiership triumph in 2013.
“They’re the minor premiers. They may have been on four of the last six preliminary finals. It’s a fair bit of pressure on them. We’ll go out there and give it a red-hot crack,” he said.
Seibold also played down the absence of star Roosters duo Dylan Napa and Latrell Mitchell, both of whom are suspended for separate charges.
While Mitchell Aubusson is the likely replacement for Mitchell at left centre, Seibold believes the Roosters’ recruitment drive last summer has made them worthy favourites for the title.
The Roosters picked up star pair Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco this year.
“(Napa and Mitchell are) obviously very good players, those two guys. They’re elite players, both (State of) Origin players,” Seibold said.
“But they’ve got great depth across their squad. We’ll focus on the players that run out and named during the week.
“I think before a ball was kicked this year, the Roosters were probably everyone’s tip to be in the grand final, minor premiers, with the recruits they had.
“We go over there with nothing to lose and everything to gain, so we can’t wait.”
Seibold also hailed the performance of his team against the Dragons following a day of scandal that centres around a social media account belonging to Sam Burgess.
The Rabbitohs are investigating claims two players exposed themselves to a young woman via video chat in May, while prop Zane Musgrove is facing domestic violence charges.
Seibold said Burgess’ performance was “strong”.
“Really proud of the group. It’s been a difficult last couple of days for the club. In my first year, it’s been a challenging last 48 hours,” he said.
“But really comfortable with how the club’s handled things and really proud of guys like Greg (Inglis), our leaders, and the playing group.”