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Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has built a bridge across Anzac Parade and offered rare praise for a Roosters outfit that will be without more than 1500 games worth of NRL experience in Friday's rivalry stoush.

While South Sydney owner Russell Crowe has never missed an opportunity to stoke rugby league's oldest rivalry with a Gladiator-esque reading from the Book of Feuds or crack at a perceived slight by the Roosters, Bennett was nothing but complimentary of the old enemy on Thursday.

Despite missing roughly 60 per cent of their salary cap through injuries, retirement and suspension, the Roosters still go into the clash in fourth spot having won six of their past seven games.

A 1-13 line-up of unavailable Roosters for this Friday's clash has done the rounds on social media this week, with the 1580 absent games worth of NRL experience more than most teams can boast when at full strength.

Mid-season recruit Dale Copley was also signed as backline cover earlier this month, but is unlikely to be sighted again after playing 78 minutes with a broken foot last weekend.

In contrast star Souths rake Damien Cook (quad) has been cleared to take his place on Friday, while Liam Knight (concussion), Josh Mansour (knee) and Keaon Koloamatangi (suspension) are the only Rabbitohs missing, with all bar Mansour back on deck come finals time.

Bennett departed from the usual rivalry rhetoric to praise the culture that has flourished under Trent Robinson and ensured the Tricolours remain competitive despite their crippling injury toll.

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"I think they've done a great job," Bennett said.

"But we all go through those seasons. If you coach long enough you're going to experience a lot of things… But that's the strength of their club and that's what's made them so good.

"Besides Melbourne they've probably been the best club in the competition for the last 20 years.

"On a consistency basis they've played in a lot of grand finals and they've had a lot of wins, they've played in a lot of finals series and there's a culture there that's really strong.

"That's what carries through to your team.

"I've been in that situation more than once at clubs I've been at and guys put their hand up and carry that spirit with them.

"I'm expecting them to play really well tomorrow night and do their absolute best."

Bennett has long been a proponent of celebrating the game's rivalries.

Adding a 17th club in Brisbane to create another regular showdown with the Broncos is a point he has often made regarding NRL expansion.

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He reiterated that on Thursday, once again insisting a new franchise could be set up in time for 2023 as the ARL Commission weighs up the prospect.

Bennett is considered the leading coaching option should a fourth Queensland team get the green light, while South Sydney have been looking to keep him on their books in a Brisbane-based advisory role since the start of the year.

The 72-year-old was in little mood to talk about his plans beyond this season, telling reporters it was a wasted line of questioning while the Rabbitohs premiership tilt is still in play.

"There are a lot of things on the table for me next year but none of them are going to be resolved until the season's over," Bennett said.

Roosters v Rabbitohs - Round 24

On the age-old Rabbitohs-Roosters clash though, he was happy to expand.

"It's a great rivalry between the two clubs," Bennett said.

"It's real. It's not something we have to beat up or make it any more than what it is.

"I've lived in Sydney for three years now and I get it.

"The players on both teams, they light up, they want to play in it. 

"I think we handle it well at our end and Trent handles it well at his end without making it total warfare."

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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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