Wayne Bennett insists South Sydney teammates Dane Gagai and Latrell Mitchell are “best mates” again after the pair’s State of Origin stand-off.

Mitchell starred for the Blues in a 26-0 defeat of Gagai’s Queensland as the pair went at each other all night at Suncorp Stadium.

But they’ll don the same colours on Sunday against the Wests Tigers, who Bennett expects to bounce back just like his fiery pair.

“They’re the best of mates, it just brings out the worst in them when they play each other,” the coach said.

“And there’s a very healthy rivalry (between the Tigers and the Rabbitohs) … we played them earlier in the season when they were going well and they were very formidable then and I’ve got to assume they’ll be very formidable again.”

Bennett’s men won 18-14 in April but the Tigers have fallen away steeply in the last fortnight, belted 40-12 by Parramatta and then 66-16 by Melbourne.

“They’ll want to set a few things right,” Bennett said.

“They’ll just want that opportunity again … want to get out and prove to themselves and their teammates and supporters that that wasn’t who they really were.”

Bennett, meanwhile, added halfback Adam Reynolds would be a safe bet to replace the injured Nathan Cleary as NSW chase a 3-0 State of Origin series win on July 14.

“He’d bring great stability, stick to the game plan, help everyone else play really well, what he does here for us,” Bennett said.

“There’s no weaknesses in his game … picking up where Cleary left off would be a natural fit.

“They (the NSW selectors) might be looking for something for the future, but Adam Reynolds will not be letting anyone down.”

Bennett’s Rabbitohs brace for Tiger bite
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