Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin.
Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin. PAUL MILLER

Griffin has Bennett Hook, line and sinker

WAYNE Bennett may not know the score, and if he did he more than likely wouldn't care. But his coaching record against Anthony Griffin is - in a word - abysmal.

From a Broncos perspective, much of the anecdotal data about tonight's clash with the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium radiates red, for danger.

And Bennett, the longest-serving and most successful coach in the history of the game is, strangely, the man under pressure.

Sure, the Panthers are on the rack. Premiership favourites at season's start, they sit two from eight and in 14th spot on the ladder.

They finished last season in a blaze of glory, winning eight of nine before the equally impressive Raiders ended their run in week two of the finals.

In that string of eight victories they averaged 31 points, a world away from the 17 they are averaging from the first eight rounds of 2017.

No doubt the pressure exerted on the Panthers to perform sits squarely on the shoulders of Griffin, once Bennett's right-hand man and the coach sacked to make way for his return to Brisbane two seasons ago.

Already - and unfairly - he heads the 'most likely to be sacked' list of NRL coaches.

But anyone thinking of taking the $1.45 about the Broncos for tonight should maybe forget about the past eight weeks, and have a gander at the overall statistics. They make fascinating reading.

For starters, the Panthers have won seven of their past 10 clashes with the Broncos. And incredibly, two of those three Broncos wins were when Griffin was in charge at Red Hill.

But when stats are assessed on a personal level, the under-siege Panthers coach has established a remarkable winning record over the 773-NRL game veteran. In their 10 meetings to date, Griffin has taken the honours nine times, with one match drawn.

While that is not Bennett's worst one-on-one coaching record, it is getting to the stage where the man regarded as the guru of the modern era should be feeling uncomfortable.

In his NRL career, which started with the Raiders in 1987, Bennett has coached against 99 others.

He never won against Bill Anderson (two games), Tony Kemp (2) or Steven Price (4), while David Furner (5 games, 1 win) and Nathan Brown (9/4) also have the wood on him, and Craig Bellamy (20/10) always gives Bennett a hard time.

But against Griffin, the battle of coaching wits must surely be getting personal for the master coach. After all it was Bennett who handed the man they call Hook the very impressive inaugural Broncos NYC squad of 2008 which produced current stars Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough, Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn, who tonight will make his 200th NRL appearance.

No doubt the clash on the field tonight should be a ripper, but the battle of wits off it will be just as significant.

GOOD: Anzac round, on and off the field. The average point's difference over eight matches was seven points

BAD: Des Hasler informing authorities his players will be unavailable for City-Country next weekend

UGLY: Cameron Smith's leg lift on Sam Lisone on Anzac Day. It could have turned very ugly

News Corp Australia

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