Master and apprentice to meet again
WAYNE Bennett has one solitary win from eight meetings with one-time protege Anthony Griffin, but Brisbane's master coach said the lopsided statistic would have no bearing on the outcome of tonight's clash with Penrith.
Bennett gave Griffin, now in charge at Penrith, his first coaching gig at Red Hill in 2008 - the club's star-studded U20s team.
However he revealed he had been very close to giving the role to eventual Cowboys premiership coach Paul Green, who was then a development officer at the Broncos.
"I just felt at that stage Paul needed a little more maturity," said Bennett of a decision which has shaped the careers of Griffin and Green since. "Anthony was good with young players, and I thought that was important at the time."
As it turned out, Griffin took the side all the way to the 2008 NYC grand final and later replaced Ivan Henjak as Brisbane's head coach in 2011 - a role he held until Bennett's decision to come home last year.
Green cut his coaching teeth in the Intrust Super Cup with Wynnum Manly and went on to win last year's NRL premiership with the Cowboys.
A lot of Brisbane's players, including Ben Hunt, Alex Glenn, Josh McGuire and Andrew McCullough, came through the Griffin era, when Bennett was coaching St George-Illawarra and Newcastle, which Bennett acknowledged on the eve of their ninth meeting as coaches.
Griffin has six wins, one draw and one loss against Bennett.
"Yeah, a lot of the kids came up under him, but we're not playing him (Griffin), we're playing Penrith," Bennett said when asked if Griffin's time at the Broncos and his great record against the man regarded as the best in the business had come up during the week.