Wayne Bennett and Ricky Stuart have not spoken in a couple of years.
Wayne Bennett and Ricky Stuart have not spoken in a couple of years.

Why rivals coaches Bennett and Stuart fell out

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has denied any ill-feeling between himself and Ricky Stuart, despite admitting the pair haven't spoken in a couple of years.

The pair's rivalry has come to the forefront ahead of the do or die preliminary final between the Raiders and the Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on Friday.

However Bennett was adamant there is no issue between the two coaches going into the biggest game of the season for both clubs.

"Not to my knowledge there isn't," Bennett told the The Sydney Morning Herald in response to rumours of a feud.

"I haven't spoken to him for a couple of years, to be honest with you."

The rivalry dates back to comments Stuart and Bennett made publicly in response to the off-field incidents that plagued the game throughout the 2018/19 off-season.

Stuart said, "He found it hard to be a proud participant in rugby league," after a series of off-field incidents over the summer.

Bennett responded to prominent league figures, who had spoken publicly on player behaviour during the tumultuous time.

"I can't believe some of the silly statements they've all made," Bennett said at the time.

"They earn a living from this game. They've been a part of it for so long, they've seen so many things, we've been through a tough period, we've had them before, we've managed them and moved on.

"I think there have been a few drama queens out there, to be honest with you."

Stuart responded: "Wayne Bennett's irrelevant to me, so are comments he makes."

However Bennett was quick to point out that he didn't use Stuart's name when questioned about the comments.

"Did I say his name? I didn't say his name," Bennett said.

"So that's where that's at."

Bennett and Stuart's rivalry dates way back to 2005 when Stuart replaced Bennett as coach of the Kangaroos.

One year later, Bennett was set replace Stuart as Sydney Roosters coach, but backed out of the deal after details were made public before he could break the news to the Broncos.

The coaching showdown is a tantalising subplot to a blockbuster clash in front of an expected sold out clash at GIO Stadium, with a spot in the 2019 title decider at stake.


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