LAST time South Sydney played Canterbury at ANZ Stadium, a bitter battle over the use of dressing rooms resulted in the Rabbitohs hiring portaloos for their $4 million football team.
While Souths and the Bulldogs are at pains to play down any off-field emnity ahead of the second preliminary final this Saturday, Rugby League Week can reveal a heated behind-the-scenes battle between the clubs last time they locked horns at Homebush.
As the home team, Canterbury wanted the home dressingroom but Souths refused to desert their purpose-built sheds nearby.
“There are areas like showers and toilets which a team needs access to and as the home team, Canterbury claimed these,” ANZ Stadium general manager Darryl Kerry tells League Week.
The expectation was that Souths would occupy the visitors’ rooms at their own ground.
“I think Souths thought ‘bugger that’ and they brought in some temporary facitilities,” said Kerry.
“I don’t know if the same problem will arise this week. Canterbury are the highest-ranked team so they will get access to the home dressingrooms, warm-up areas and such.
“I am not sure what the NRL has decided.”
Canterbury had not previously played hard ball with the Rabbitohs over the use of the rooms – it’s an approach which arrived with new coach Des Hasler.
Before the June 3 clash, Souths even examined the fine print of their contract with the venue to find out what they were entitled to use and what they could not. They were able to use the dressingrooms – but not the icebaths, showers and toilets.
Aside from using the portaloos, players left the venue unshowered after a 23-18 defeat, going to another venue to change.
Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson said: “We were disappointed last time but we got on with it.
“And we’ll get on with it this week too.”
Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg said: “When it’s our away game, we just go straight to the away rooms. But when it’s our home game, we don’t believe our preparation should be compromised to help someone else.