WAYNE Bennett’s South Sydney Rabbitohs will play a trial match against Riverina at Albury Sportsground on Saturday, February 16.
With Bennett only taking over from Anthony Seibold last month, the Rabbitohs sent out an SOS to regional centres to host another hit-out before the NRL season.
“They had their trials locked in and Wayne wanted another one,” Albury Thunder spokesman Mike Eden said.
“He wanted to go to the bush as well.
They had their trials locked in and Wayne wanted another one.Mike Eden
“South Sydney sent an email to the mayors of Dubbo, Albury and Tamworth and Kevin (Mack) asked me if Albury Thunder were interested in getting involved.
“I rang them back and we’ve managed to sort it out.
“To have South Sydney and the greatest coach of all-time come to Albury is a wonderful opportunity.”
Albury Thunder coach Adrian Purtell will captain the Riverina side with Josh Cale calling the shots as coach.
Purtell and Cale are confident Group Nine’s premier players will put their hand up to play.
“It’s really exciting to get a nationally-recognised side to come to the Border,” Purtell said.
“There will be a lot of big-name players coming and Wayne Bennett’s obviously a huge name in the sport as well so it’s great for the region.
“I’m not sure what sort of side we will put together but I’m sure there will be a lot of interest.”
Two curtain-raisers will be played with Melbourne Storm’s under-20s taking on the Riverina under-23s and the Victorian women meeting the Riverina side.
The main match is set down for 6pm.
South Sydney will arrive on the Border on the Friday and will hold a training session at the sportsground.
Albury Thunder and Albury Tigers will co-host the trial match.