Bennett's orders: Make your own way to Canberra

The master of finals preparation is at it again.

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett will send his men into enemy territory in Canberra 48 hours before battle after ordering his players to pack their bags and make their own way to the ACT on Wednesday.

Bennett, long regarded the best big-game coach in the NRL, will send his players down for Friday's grand final qualifier against the Raiders a day earlier than usual in a bid to unite his players ahead of the do-or-die showdown.

Traditionally teams arrive in Canberra the night before the game, but the Rabbitohs will train in Canberra on Thursday and spend three days in enemy territory to get accustomed to the hostility they can expect at a sold-out GIO Stadium.

"I just want them to get out of Sydney," Bennett told NRL.com.

"It's an opportunity to bring blokes together. I told them I don't care how you get there, just make your own way down and relax and spend time together.

"It's a tough trip that Canberra one. If you fly you sit at the airport for ages and sometimes by the time you get there it would have been quicker to drive.

"Same with the bus. Some of the guys get frustrated on the bus so we came up with the idea of going down in cars.

"I don't want us to be under pressure the next day to train and get down there. We'll all go down there and be nice and relaxed and enjoy each other's company."

Rabbitohs forwards, and travel buddies, Liam Knight and Sam Burgess.
Rabbitohs forwards, and travel buddies, Liam Knight and Sam Burgess. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

It's an idea Bennett came up with during his time at the St George Illawarra Dragons when he was looking to help that club's horror record in the nation's capital.

While Bennett was unable to buck the trend at the Dragons, the Rabbitohs adopted the same approach when they played the Raiders in Canberra back in round 10 and managed to walk away with the two points.

The players have backed the idea and have been organising their carpool arrangements, with the Burgess brothers tagging along with John Sutton and Liam Knight.

"Our forward pack sticks together," Tom Burgess said.

"We have the day off tomorrow so it makes sense to go down to Canberra then and come together as a team.

"The supporters are pretty good in Canberra and love their footy, especially sitting on the bench they love to get in your ear so we'll embrace the city early. 

"We've always enjoyed going away together and it's worked well for us this year. There hasn't been a preliminary final in a long time down there and it's great news that it's sold out."

Asked who he would be car-pooling with, Bennett jokingly replied: "Myself, I enjoy my own company".

James Roberts, who is in doubt for Friday's game, will travel down to Canberra and likely to be given until Thursday to prove his fitness.

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