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Cleary won't reignite Bennett feud in GF

·2-min read

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary is adamant he won't reignite his war of words with South Sydney's Wayne Bennett in NRL grand final week.

The two mentors engaged in a pre and post-match feud when the Panthers and Rabbitohs met in Townsville in the opening week of the finals.

Claims from Bennett that the Panthers practised illegal moves to block tacklers from getting to their kickers led Cleary to assert after the Rabbitohs' shock win that the veteran coach's comments had influenced referees.

Bennett, who will coach in his 10th grand final at Suncorp Stadium, hit back at Cleary in the post-match press conference, saying it was the Penrith coach who "started mouthing off".

The defeat to the Rabbitohs meant Cleary's team had to get to the grand final the hard way, edging past Parramatta and Melbourne in two brutal contests.

Having set up a premiership decider against Bennett's Rabbitohs, Cleary has vowed to keep himself out of the headlines in the build up to the game.

"Wayne is the best coach of all time. Certainly in my memory," Cleary said.

"I will be doing what I am good at and staying in the background this week.

"I think we both know each other pretty well.

"It's just about who will be best team on the day. We didn't bring our best in that first week, credit to them."

Penrith lock Isaah Yeo was one player in particular targeted in the kick blocker debate.

He too refused however to suggest that off-field drama would add an extra layer of motivation going into a grand final against the Bunnies.

"If you looked at every single game over the whole year, it's in there," Yeo said about being the focus of attention.

"I am in the middle of the field working within the rules.

"There was a lot of fuss made out of it, but, anyway it's done now."

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