Walters set for 'weird' Bennett NRL battle

·2-min read

Kevin Walters wants to see more resilience from Brisbane when his former mentor and South Sydney boss Wayne Bennett inevitably puts the blowtorch on their fragile defence on Thursday night.

NRL rivals picked apart the Broncos' edge and middle defence like never before as they collected the wooden spoon last season and things have hardly improved despite Walters' arrival in 2021.

Melbourne's Ryan Papenhuyzen scored a staggering four tries in 11 minutes last week as the Storm won 40-6, shutting the door on any momentum gained from a win the week before that ended a 13-game Broncos losing streak.

Rampaging fullback Latrell Mitchell will be a handful whenever he injects himself into the line while the speed of hooker Damien Cook could expose a Brisbane defence that has conceded about 400 metres per game more than the Rabbitohs so far this season.

"Players are aware of that and we've spent a good focus of our time on ourselves on what happens when things aren't going so well," Walters said.

"We'll be under pressure at various stages, so we'll see the resilience and if there's been any improvement there."

Walters said it would be "weird" to coach against Bennett, who coached him and has also coached with him when Walters was a Brisbane assistant.

"It's a privilege to be coaching against him at this level; he's well over the 700 mark now in games coached and I'm up to number five," Walters said.

"He's a big influence ... we were first introduced to each other when I was 16 turning 17 and he's been involved ever since in some capacity.

"I'm sure it'll be a little bit weird I've got to say, but I'm really grateful."

Benji Marshall will wear the No.6 for the Rabbitohs (3-1) in place of the suspended Cody Walker and Jacob Host comes into the back row for Kaeon Koloamatangi, who was also suspended last week.

For Brisbane (1-3), centre Richie Kennar replaces the in-form Englishman Herbie Farnworth, who will miss at least this week with a shoulder injury.

Patrick Carrigan is also suspended, with Tevita Pangai Jnr named to start at lock.

Walters has put the heat on Anthony Milford to show he deserves a new contract beyond this year, while halves partner Tom Dearden will wear the No.7 after Brodie Croft failed to cement his spot in the first month of the season.