Opportunity is the theme in South Sydney's first pre-season match of the year against the Wigan Warriors says Rabbitohs’ Head Coach Anthony Seibold.
The exhibition match, which will be played at ANZ Stadium on February 17, will see the two proud Clubs come together for the first time in their long and storied histories.
Coach Seibold, who has both played and coached overseas, acknowledges that not only will the clash be a chance for his players to stake their claims for starting roles or spots in the 17, but it will also be a prestigious battle between two iconic Clubs.
“I’m really excited about the Wigan clash,” Coach Seibold said.
“I actually spent eight years over in England as a player and I started my coaching career over there.
“Wigan were always the big guns over there, it was a tremendous place to go to play when I played there for the London Broncos, and I’m really looking forward to hosting them.
“I think for our Members it will be a good opportunity to see some of our younger players go up against Wigan; the likes of Cameron Murray, Tyrell Fuimaono, Angus Crichton, those types of guys will all play in that game.
“Wigan have a whole heap of test players, they’ve had sustained success for a long time, and we can’t wait to go out to ANZ Stadium and be a part of that Double-Header.”
With 21 Premierships each, strong traditions and history are what define both South Sydney and Wigan in their respective competitions, so there will be plenty of pride on the line.
Seibold is expecting a tough, physical Wigan side to take on the Rabbitohs, and believes that the learning experience that his players will get, especially the younger ones, will be invaluable for their careers.
“I do know one thing, they’re very physical,” he added.
“I think if you look at the World Cup, the English side performed really admirably in the World Cup and were quite unlucky not to get away with at least a draw in that World Cup final I thought.
“I think they’ll expect a big, physical pack. They’ve got some really good, key players like Sam Tomkins, for instance, who is back fit and healthy and playing for them again, so I think it will be a great match-up.
“I think it will be a great learning experience for our young guys, and we’re really excited and looking forward to building towards that game.
“They’re a very high-profile team, very well supported, so for our guys to test themselves against international opposition, that’s always a great experience.”
As a powerhouse of the English Super League, Wigan are no doubt one of the biggest names in Rugby League, and are the reigning World Club Champions after defeating the Cronulla Sharks earlier in 2017.
‘Seibs’ believes that their quality will be different to the type of opponents his players will come up against in the NRL and, while the Super League itself might not be as glamorous as Australia’s competition, there is no doubt that the experience will be one for everyone involved to cherish.
“The NRL competition is certainly a stronger competition than the Super League, but Wigan, with their history of success, it’s just a great opportunity for our guys to test themselves and to play guys they don’t play against week-in-week-out,” said Coach Seibold.
“As I keep saying, it’s a great learning experience for our younger players in particular, and we can’t wait.”