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Handshakes, hugs and fist bumps: How Bennett and the Bunnies clicked

Amid the flurry of activity that surrounded Wayne Bennett's off-season arrival at Redfern, one particular trait came to light among some of the senior players - one handshake from Wayne a week.

Plenty have tried to sneak in a second – some may have in fact succeeded – but since taking over at the Rabbitohs the handshake ritual has become something of an entertaining aside to the weekly grind.

"I saw one of the boys shake his hand – I think it was Damien Cook – and he went to shake it again and he basically told him to piss off,” Adam Reynolds said.

"One handshake is enough for the week so I didn't try for the second one.

"When we got a couple of weeks in I tried to figure him out and get around it but he doesn't like to give you two in one week.

"A fist bump here and there, a handshake here and there. He's starting to get a bit old and forget a few things so you can slip one through to the keeper every now and again."

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Ensconced in Blues camp and unavailable for Friday's encounter with Parramatta, Cook is claiming he got a second handshake following his scintillating performance against the Cowboys to close out Magic Round in Brisbane.

For Cook, it represented the completion of a six-month pursuit of a Bennett double-up.

"I got one early in the week and he normally shakes your hand after a win so I might have got the second handshake for the week. That's the first time.

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"There must have been something in the air. He's usually pretty happy when he's back in Brisbane.

"It was pretty brutal at the start. When he first met everyone he probably shook everyone's hand but on day two he just wasn't shaking people's hands. We learnt that pretty quick."

On that same Sunday that Cook completed his Bennett quinella, those paying close attention to the Roosters' post-try celebrations will have also noticed something odd.

When Cooper Cronk scored his side’s opening try against the Raiders, he wasn’t mobbed, hugged or even "noogied". First Luke Keary and then James Tedesco shook the No.7’s hand in the most formal manner possible, the ritual repeated when Tedesco scored in the second half.

Unlike Bennett’s rigid stance, however, Roosters officials confirmed the “Gentlemen’s Finish” was a special one-off post-try celebration devised specifically for Magic Round.

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Given the number and variety of handshakes used by players in 2019, Cook believes Bennett and the Roosters trio might have stumbled upon the simplest solution of all.

"He's probably onto something," Cook said of his coach.

"Us boys have got so many different handshakes with different players and he's probably got it the best, just a nod.

"We've got a couple of handshakes but me and Dean Britt just go the old-school handshake. A handshake and a nod."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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