Anthony Seibold at Broncos Training at Red Hill. Pic Annette Dew
Anthony Seibold at Broncos Training at Red Hill. Pic Annette Dew

Broncos in crisis: Seibold’s litany of errors

Right now, the Broncos are a club riddled with problems.

But the most vexing issue is Anthony Seibold and until they remove their biggest problem - their coach - the Broncos cannot fix their ancillary issues.

At Friday night's post-match press conference, Seibold said four times he must take "responsibility" for his side's 48-0 drubbing against the Tigers.

It is not the first time Seibold has mouthed that word, dating back to last September, when he claimed he would take "full responsibility" for Brisbane's season-ending 58-0 loss to the Eels in the finals.

How many times does a coach have to accept responsibility for consistent ineptitude before the people that appointed him - Brisbane's board - realise the root of the problem stands right before them?

The issue is Brisbane's bumbling board are complicit in this mess.

They rubber-stamped Seibold's ridiculous five-year deal.

Where's the robust governance?

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To sack Seibold today would be to admit their own poor judgement. It is easier to hide away in a plush boardroom, never facing Broncos fans, praying Seibold can right the sinking ship.

The definition of responsibility is "the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something".

So if Seibold is indeed accepting blame for Brisbane's parlous state, and things still aren't getting better, then the next question becomes one of competency, defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Brisbane's slide into the bottom-four is not through terrible luck or happenstance.

No. It has occurred by design. Of course, Seibold would never intentionally want to make a bad decision. But since he arrived in December 2018, he has had total, unfettered freedom of choice.

The Broncos are his club, his team. He is the head coach. The squad lives and dies by his decisions, his actions shape results, and many of his decisions have been flawed, such as:

Pat Carrigan has been thrown into the captaincy role at aged 22.
Pat Carrigan has been thrown into the captaincy role at aged 22.

 

THE CAPTAINCY

Seibold has completely botched management of the captaincy, one of the most important roles in a football club.

Imagine the pimply-faced coffee boy at your local workplace suddenly being appointed the boss of a department.

That's what has happened at the Broncos.

In March last year, Pat Carrigan hadn't even played first grade. On Friday night, after 27 NRL games, he was anointed sole skipper following an injury to Alex Glenn, who was appointed club captain this year, six months after Brisbane tried to offload him.

Carrigan's name is now alongside iconic Broncos captains such as Lockyer, Langer, Lewis, Tallis and Walters. Shane Webcke never captained the Broncos, yet somehow Carrigan is promoted above 327-game, two-time premiership winner Darius Boyd, who Seibold sacked as skipper last year.

It's embarrassing for the Broncos - and for Carrigan. No disrespect to Carrigan, but the 22-year-old would agree he has done nothing in the game. Not one player at the Broncos would respect Carrigan ahead of Boyd.

It took four years for Cameron Smith to be given the Storm captaincy. Seibold has created a distorted leadership dynamic.

Brodie Croft just hasn’t settled in Brisbane.
Brodie Croft just hasn’t settled in Brisbane.

 

THE HALFBACK

Seibold wanted Brodie Croft as his main man at No.7.

Despite Melbourne, the best club of the last decade, deciding Croft could not steer a team under pressure, nor win them a premiership, it was the Broncos coach who believed he could polish a rough diamond.

Ten games into his Broncos career, Croft is all at sea. Seibold has Langer, Brisbane's greatest halfback, on his coaching staff to mentor Croft, yet eight months after arriving at Red Hill, the Storm discard is already down on confidence.

He scored a superb solo try against Parramatta but Croft has struggled to provide consistent direction and has formed no real cohesive understanding with halves partner Anthony Milford.

Just turned 23, Croft, still young, was a gamble. Seibold has asked too much of him too soon.

Payne Haas has regressed this season.
Payne Haas has regressed this season.

 

THE TEACHER

Seibold has said he loves being a teacher of men and regards himself as a development coach.

But since his arrival at Red Hill, Brisbane's posse of potential superstars have mostly gone backwards.

It was Bennett who blooded Payne Haas, David Fifita, Jamayne Isaako, Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai Jr, Kotoni Staggs and Jake Turpin.

Turpin and Staggs have genuinely kicked on under Seibold. Fifita was already a gun. Seibold has done a good job with Xavier Coates, Carrigan and Herbie Farnworth. But most of the group have regressed.

Anthony Milford is a shadow of the player who almost won the 2015 Clive Churchill Medal.

NSW Origin prop Haas has lost his mojo. Isaako has lost the plot. Lodge, Pangai Jr, Joe Ofahengaue and Corey Oates are not the players they were 12 or 24 months ago.

THE ROSTER

The claim that Brisbane have the youngest squad in the NRL, and thus struggle for consistency and mental toughness, is a myth.

The Broncos squad entered the 2020 season with 1859 games of top-grade experience. The Panthers, who are today in the top three, were the true 'babies' with 1409 games.

Incredibly, reigning grand-finalists Canberra, and Bennett's Rabbitohs, both had younger squads than the Broncos this year on the score of experience.

It was Seibold's choice to chisel away more experience over the last 18 months. He released Kodi Nikorima and James Roberts last year, then allowed 260-gamer Andrew McCullough to leave this year. Ten days after losing McCullough, he signed another hooker Issac Luke, a player three years older than McCullough!

The Broncos let Andrew McCullough join the Knights.
The Broncos let Andrew McCullough join the Knights.

 

THE STYLE

In pre-season, Seibold met with the full-time squad. Their 'game model' this year would be about winning without the ball. Not just through defence, but player mentality with their fitness and movement when not in possession of the ball.

After 10 rounds, Brisbane's game model is an over-complicated mess. They have the worst defence in league, having leaked 291 points.

There is no shape in attack, no scoring potency and no playmaking general taking charge of their spine.

All premiership teams have a unique playing identity. Bennett's Broncos were famed for entertaining and playing their guts out until the 80th minute.

Seibold's Broncos are spiritless ... and have no soul.


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