Wayne Bennett expecting a full-on Wigan welcome

Brisbane Broncos head coach Wayne Bennett is expecting a tough encounter when his team meet Wigan on Saturday in the second game of the World Club Series.

Bennett has stated that he prefers being in the North of England for tough match against the Warriors, rather than playing another friendly game back home.

“It’s part of the coaching experience and something I’m looking forward to,” he said.

“I’d much rather be here than in the back of Australia somewhere playing in front of five or six thousand people in a trial match.

“Because this won’t be a trial match, this will be a full-on game of rugby league, and I’m happy to be here.

“We’ve got a really tough test within 10 days of it playing South Sydney. It’ll be a good test for us.”

While he acknowledges that he does not know much about the current Wigan team, Bennett is expecting a tough test from a club of such calibre.

He has faced the Warriors before in the World Club Challenge, with his St George-Illawarra Dragons team beating Wigan back in 2011.

“I haven’t seen that much of them,” he admitted.

“But they’ve always been a quality footy team, and they’ve played in the Grand Final, and just got beaten there.

“Tthe Dragons played them in 2011, and that was only four years ago. They’ve always been a quality footy club, and they still are.

“It will be hard.”

Bennett is also optimistic about the future of the World Club Series, with fans in the UK responding to the concept with great enthusiasm.

“I always like being part of something new, and I think it’s a good concept,” he said.

“Gary Hetherington from Leeds has often spoken about it, and Peter Doust from the Dragons was talking about it five or six years ago.

“So I’m pleased that they’ve got something on the table, and obviously the fans have responded to it, which is wonderful.

“So let’s see where it goes from here.”

As for matters on the field, Bennett knows that basic skills will be crucial, as they are in all early season contests.

“If we don’t hold the ball, it’ll be scratchy,” he said.

“So the first challenge is to hold the ball. That’s the problem coming out of preseason, that your skills aren’t where they should be.

“I hope ours are pretty good, but they might not be just where we want them.”

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