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Renouf: Why the Broncos-Bunnies rivalry has us all so intrigued

It is going to be on like Donkey Kong, so expect a humdinger.

You could write a book on the plots and sub-plots going on behind the scenes when the Broncos host the Rabbitohs on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Anthony Seibold up against Wayne Bennett. You don’t need to say any more.

Throw in Rabbitohs assistant coach Jason Demetriou who had a ding-dong war of words with Seibs before last year’s clash in Brisbane. It was personal, but good on them both.

Rugby league thrives on that kind of build-up and I thought they both played their part in creating great interest ahead of what was a cracker at Suncorp Stadium that went right down to the wire. I expect the same tight game this year.

One of the great video clips from last year was Wayne doing a little jig and all the South Sydney players applauding when he went into the Suncorp dressing sheds after a great win.

It showed the respect there is in that playing group for Wayne and the relaxed atmosphere he has brought to that club.

Broncos v Rabbitohs - Round 2

That sort of thing isn’t something you often see from Wayne when he is being filmed, but I don’t think he cared at all. He knows the cameras are in the dressing sheds these days.

It just showed how much the Souths players believe this game means to their coach.

Wayne always concentrated harder when he was up against his old club back in the day.

When the Broncos played Canberra in the early 1990s he would keep us there at training until midnight.

We used to tell him, in jest, that he was over-coaching us. He will be up mentally for this one himself and he will be pumping it into the team.

We all know the way Wayne left Brisbane a few years ago but he is hardened to that sort of stuff. He has moved on, although he might be up north again in a couple of years anyway with another Brisbane team.

Demetriou has some great attacking plans and he is smart at what he does. He can get any backline going. Getting one over the Broncos will mean a lot to him after he missed out on the head coaching job.

Seibs is getting the best out of young players at Brisbane like Kotoni Staggs, Payne Haas and David Fifita. He wants to keep the early momentum going.

With both coaches coming off good wins and up against their former clubs this will be a great tussle.

The coronavirus pandemic is a real concern for the nation on so many levels. I have discussed that on the podcast this week but I want to make this column about the footy. This game just has it all

Out of the two teams last week I was  more impressed with the Broncos in their win over the Cowboys. There were a couple of personal performances that stood out. Brodie Croft, what a start to the season from him  in the No.7 jersey. He showed a lot of composure and controlled the game.

Fifita continues to do the impossible

Fifita scored that freakish 70-metre try. We have come to expect that from him. He was all class.

Jamayne Isaako at fullback took the opportunity he was given and that is all Seibold could have asked for. The spine came together a lot better than I thought it would and that is a credit to Seibs and the players.

On the other side, Wayne would have been happy with just getting a win in round one over the Sharks. It went down to the wire but he has always liked to bank competition points early in the season.

Souths hooker Damien Cook is the real danger for Brisbane. He came to the fore under Seibold in 2018 and if anyone is going to know how to shut him down it is Seibs.

There are some former Broncos in the Rabbitohs side like Jimmy Roberts and Jaydn Su’A. Both left Brisbane to reunite with Wayne and I am expecting both of them to really lift and have big games.

Roberts is up against Darius Boyd in the centres. There is no way Darius can give him one inch on his outside. Darius is smart enough to handle it, but I am sure the Rabbits will have been working on that during the week.

The last Burgess brother left standing at Redfern, Thomas, has plenty to contend with in Haas and Tom Flegler. He is lucky Tevita Pangai Jnr is suspended or he’d have a triple-whammy coming at him.

Having no crowd up here is going to benefit the Rabbits. I’m tipping the Broncos but there won’t be much between them.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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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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