New Manly coach Anthony Seibold has opened up about his time at the helm of the Broncos, admitting he looks back on his tenure at Red Hill with regret.
Seibold has returned to Manly as the club’s new coach after working as an assistant with the Sea Eagles in 2016.
Off the back of taking the reigns at South Sydney in 2018, Seibold picked up the Dally M Coach of the Year award after helping the Rabbitohs from a 12th-placed finish the year before reaching a preliminary final.
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He departed for Brisbane after the 2018 season, but his tenure with the Broncos ended in disaster when he was dumped by the club just two years into his five-year contract.
The 48-year-old has since worked in a consultancy role with former England rugby coach Eddie Jones and as an assistant coach at the Knights under Adam O’Brien.
Speaking on James Graham’s The Bye Round Podcast, Seibold said his decision to leave the Rabbitohs was a poor one.
“I do regret it,” he said.
“I made a business decision in the end. Ultimately, it proved to be the wrong decision.
“But the way I looked at it was it was an opportunity to set up not just my family, but my wider family for life, through the deal that was offered to me.
“It was a five-year deal with the sixth year in my favour. Very lucrative.
“I said ‘no’ a couple of times but then another year kept getting added, and it got to the point where I felt as though if I didn’t take it, it’s probably negligent in some way.”
Seibold’s signing with Brisbane forced Wayne Bennett to be driven out of the Broncos, where he had won six premierships.
“I regret it heaps, but then maybe I wouldn’t be the coach I am today if I didn’t go through that experience of so much media exposure (that came with) going to Brisbane,” Seibold said.
“Replacing the legend of Wayne at the Broncos, the criticism of the old boys of me coming to the club and the noise that was always there (was difficult).”
Seibold does see one positive in his time at the Broncos.
“I thought making the finals with that Brisbane team in 2019 was a bigger … and more successful coaching story than the previous year (at South Sydney),” he said.
“The reason I say that is we debuted 11 guys that year.
“It was just the way we bowed out; we got beaten 58-0 in the finals. It was just horrible.”
After sneaking into the competition’s top eight in 2019, the Broncos traveled to western Sydney to face Parramatta where the team suffered its worst finals loss in club history.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Seibold said.
“We beat that Parramatta side 17-16 two weeks earlier. So, do you lose your talent in two weeks? Do you lose your fitness or your contact ability in two weeks? You don’t.
“Obviously, something mentally wasn’t quite right there for whatever reason.
“But to make the finals from where we came from … when you look at it now and where the Broncos have been since, it was actually a pretty decent year for that group.”
Despite finishing his time at Brisbane with just 14 wins from 40 games, Seibold said he would not change any of the choices he made in the best interest of the team.
“I still would blood all the young kids,” he said.
“I was heavily criticized for giving Tommy Dearden his debut and I was heavily criticized for making Pat Carrigan captain at 20 years of age. But if you look at where they are now … I could see that.
“What would I do different?
“I made a lot of changes. Probably didn’t keep some of the DNA of the club. So, that would be one thing.
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“Some of the senior players, for instance. Maybe I could have handled them a little bit differently.”
But for all the heartache coaching has brought him, Seibold is not worried about returning to the top job.
“Looking back now, it seems a little bit surreal,” he said.
“It seems like a lifetime ago, even though it was only a couple of years ago.
“But I feel like I’m a better coach and even a better person.
“It was tough at the time, and I can see why people criticized me externally, but that’s life and you get on with it.
“I know that I can get through that really tough, turbulent time where you’re not just on the back page but you’re actually on the front page, too.
“I feel like I’ve shown that I can bring groups together. I’ve also shown that if you make some mistakes and you’re a bit cloudy with some of your decision making then it can really go badly for you.
“I feel as though I am a resource to the group and a servant to the group. Not everyone would agree with that, but when you’re a teacher or a coach, you’re there to serve the group.”
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