New Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett believes South Sydney's 26-16 win over Sydney Roosters will give his players confidence in the less structured style of play he has introduced at Redfern this season.
Bennett has made several significant changes since taking charge with Greg Inglis shifting from left to right centre and Sam Burgess moving from the middle to right second row but the most notable difference was the freedom afforded to his playmakers.
Halfback Adam Reynolds controlled the SCG showdown with his kicking game while five-eighth Cody Walker was always a threat on the left side of the ruck and there was more balance to their attack, with the Rabbitohs scoring two of their five tries on the right edge.
“We have got very talented halves, we have got a very good fullback and we have got an extremely good hooker so my job is to free them up so they can play their football, not to try to put them in a box or play with structure that is detrimental to the way they play,” Bennett said.
“They have got freedom to play and that is what they bring. That is the beauty of what makes them the players they are.”
While happy to beat the defending premiers in his first game in charge of the Rabbitohs, Bennett said the most important thing about the win was the confidence he and the players would gain.
“There is a lot of improvement in us but I was happy with what they did,” Bennett said.
“It’s not about beating the Roosters. I think it is just a new coach, probably a different philosophy, we do things differently, we all need the performance just to get some confidence in each other that we are doing things right and there is a belief in it. That was the important part tonight.”
Despite not playing in the pre-season, Reynolds laid on two tries with pinpoint accurate kicks into the pads on the goalposts, which resulted in Cameron Murray and Walker scoring. He also set up a try for fullback Alex Johnston.
“Adam is one of the best kickers of the ball in the game so we were completing sets pretty well to give him an opportunity to kick the ball,” Bennett said.
“He made a real difference with his kicking game and that was the benefit of controlling the football. It is big part of the game these days and we have got someone who can do it as well as anyone in the competition.”