Sam Burgess has accused Anthony Seibold of running a "bizarre" agenda against his former Rabbitohs side ahead of Friday's critical grudge match.
Burgess is battling to take on the surging Broncos after "stupidly" aggravating a quad strain, but he has lit the fuse for a mouth-watering Suncorp showdown by calling out Seibold's comments on South Sydney's attack.
Asked about the Rabbitohs' offence after Brisbane's win over Penrith, Seibold took what Burgess interpreted as a swipe at his former club and Wayne Bennett.
"I got a good feel for how [the Rabbitohs] play their footy and not a lot's changed from an attacking point of view, from what I can see from last year, so they throw plenty at you," Seibold told reporters.
Burgess has taken a dim view of the comment, hitting back at his ex-coach's "agenda" and insinuating that the pressure of coaching the Broncos powerhouse has led to Seibold's eyebrow-raising remarks of late.
"I find it a bizarre comment," Burgess said.
"But it's probably not his only one in the past couple of months if you know what I mean.
"I don't know what he's playing at there. But whatever. If he has an agenda somewhere, we'll just get on with it.
"If you want to delve into it and have a little look you make your own mind up if there's been change or not.
"We had a great attacking structure last year. David Furner was our attack coach and he was very good.
"We've adapted things a bit more. 100 per cent it's changed.
"You see the way we play. All you have to do is look through the stats and the shapes that we are throwing."
Since Bennett and Seibold traded places at Redfern and Red Hill, assistant Jason Demetriou has been in charge of the Rabbitohs attack.
His remit has been to overhaul the offence that scored an NRL-best 24.25 points a game through last year's regular season, yet was found wanting in the finals against a watertight Roosters defence.
Last year's left edge of Greg Inglis, Cody Walker and Robert Jennings produced an impressive 49 tries under Seibold, but the Bunnies tallied only 19 through the middle and 30 down the right.
With Bennett and Demetriou calling the shots Souths' tries breakdown is a more even spread across the left edge (27 tries), middle (24) and right edge (22) – though they are averaging three points less a game so far in 2019.
The Bunnies have plenty of problems in their own backyard ahead of the latest Seibold-Bennett stoush.
The Rabbitohs failed to score a try in last Saturday's upset loss to Canterbury and have slid out of the top four.
Bennett: Our football is not at it's best
Brisbane meanwhile have won five of their past seven games – albeit all against teams either scrambling around the edge of the top eight or out of finals contention.
When Burgess refers to Seibold's Rabbitohs remark as "not his only one in the past couple of months", he is pointing to last week's foot-in-mouth attempt to defend Darius Boyd by comparing him to Luke Keary.
Boyd has copped it all season over his form, first at fullback and then since switching into the halves, and Seibold pointed out Keary's "four run metres and five missed tackles" for the Roosters against Canberra in claiming that Boyd was being unfairly targeted.
Seibold leaps to Darius Boyd's defence
Roosters teammate Cooper Cronk was similarly bemused by Seibold's comments on Keary last week.
"I just think it's a little bit disrespectful of Luke Keary and I think he's a little bit of an angry ant today old Luke," Cronk said on Fox League.
"[Keary] wasn't impressed. Obviously I know Anthony Seibold from my Storm days but he was just not really sure why he was brought into the argument."
Burgess has been named to lead the Rabbitohs in the front-row despite being under an injury cloud, while his brother Tom is out for up to month with a knee injury.
Kyle Turner once again moves to the centres to cover Braidon Burns, who is still suffering a hamstring injury.