‘Prominent name’ behind vile Seibold rumours
Talk has intensified Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold may step down as he suffers through a season of personal and professional hell.
The Broncos have won just three games all year - and just once since the NRL season restarted in late May - as they slump to the lowest ebb in the club's history.
Seibold's ability to handle the most scrutinised coaching gig in rugby league has been questioned, as has his relationship with the players. Adding to that, the former Souths mentor was forced into two weeks of self-isolation after staying in Sydney to deal with a serious family matter following the Round 13 loss to the Rabbitohs and has since engaged lawyers to deal with vile rumours being spread about him on social media.
Seibold hired cybercrime experts to trace the origins of the rumours and yesterday it was reported he would soon be handed a dossier detailing the investigation into the source of the allegations.
Speaking to The Australian, Seibold's lawyer Dave Garratt has since revealed a "prominent name", whose social media presence recently "went black", was identified as part of the investigation that has been "monitoring certain people" since Seibold took action.
"The minute it came out that there was cyber-people involved, someone shut down their account straight away," Garratt said.
In a column for The Courier Mail yesterday, Robert Craddock reported Seibold will decide this week whether to quit or stay on until at least the end of the season. Speaking on NRL 360 last night, Craddock said: "This is a huge week for Anthony. I'm not saying he's stepping down this week, but I reckon it's less than 50 per cent chance
"But it is being talked about and it is being thought about, and how could it not be?
"To me, all roads lead to the same point. Whether he steps down now or whether he goes to the end of the season, I just can't see how he survives given what's happened to the Broncos this season.
"Since Anthony went into isolation mode last week it was a time for reflection for him and let's face it, it's just so palpably obvious that a team with a coach whose senior players aren't playing for him, has a limited future at that club."
Craddock said the Brisbane board will support Seibold until the end of 2020 but "it all changes if he goes to them" to say he wants to walk away.
Fox Sports' chief NRL reporter James Hooper said the seeds of Seibold walking away were first sown when his personal issues arose.
"Immediately there were conspiracy theories being pushed that perhaps this was going to be the beginning of a soft exit and of a strategy where Anthony may decide, and the people representing him may decide, that they speak with the powers that be at the Broncos and just decide to draw a line under it and part company," Hooper said.
NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent said that is now a "pointless strategy" because Seibold is moving through his personal troubles, so it may be too late to claim his leaving would be down to factors outside of football.
"Now it's clearly a strategy to say he's got other issues he's got to deal with first," Kent said. "If he goes now, given he's moved through the other things in his life, I think it's just going to be seen as he's been sacked by the Broncos."
Seibold has said repeatedly he won't quit. He is in just the second year of a five-year, multimillion-dollar deal, and after a loss to Cronulla three weeks ago said: "I certainly won be quitting … I don't think quitting is an example that this young group needs to see or wants to see."
Broncos assistant Peter Gentle, who has taken the reins while Seibold is in isolation, echoed those thoughts last week, saying he is "100 per cent" sure the 45-year-old is committed to honouring his contract.
However, Daily Telegraph league reporter Phil Rothfield spoke to Seibold on Sunday and is less convinced the Broncos coach is a certainty to see out the season.
"He's always been very firm that he wouldn't walk away, that he had a five-year deal, it was a long fix," Rothfield said on NRL 360.
"When I asked him twice yesterday, was he going to walk, the denials and the rejection of my suggestion was nowhere near as strong as it has been."
Meanwhile, Broncos legend Corey Parker, who also works with the club's forwards, is adamant Seibold is staying put.
"Absolutely not, I'll squash that out straight away," Parker told NRL Tonight when asked if Seibold was going to quit.
"I've been in close contact with Anthony Seibold over the whole season, but in particular in the last few weeks more closely, I spoke to Seibs today.
"For a coach, they have similar habits as a player. Desire, commitment, the passion and Anthony Seibold has at no stage hinted that he will want to quit."
Originally published as 'Prominent name' behind vile rumours