NRL: Why did Seibold do well at Souths, but not at Brisbane?


Much of the criticism directed at Anthony Seibold during his tenure as head coach of the Brisbane Broncos had a lot to do with the apparent complexity of his structures and game plans.


It got to the point where his players were confused and didn’t have a clear understanding of their role in the team. Players were also criticised for their lack of communication with each other in both attack and defence, but one must wonder if they even knew when and what they were supposed to communicate in order to execute their structures.

Watching how easily opposition attacks breached their defensive line because players were out of position or not knowing when to either rush up or slide, clearly showed they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.

Broncos players were just as confused in attack and would often look out of sync, their timing would be off and support players would often look clueless as to what their halves were going to do.


Whenever Anthony Milford received the ball, it looked as if he didn’t know what to do with it. He would confuse himself as to whether he should run, pass or kick and would end up running sideways towards the left side of the field, do a spin and run sideways towards the right side of the field, only to get swamped by the opposition defence and surrender in a tackle.

He is a shadow of the player he was in 2015.

Likewise for Brodie Croft. Whenever he received the ball, he would be in two or even three minds as to what to do and more often than not, he would make the wrong decision, especially with his last tackle options.


Seibold’s Broncos had all these young players who had the talent to play first grade, but didn’t look like they were ready for first grade under his coaching.

The difference with Seibold’s time at Souths is having a roster with a wealth of experience. He coached the same core group of experienced players which missed the finals in 2016 and 2017, and took them to a third-place finish and a preliminary final in 2018.

Unlike the current Broncos side, Seibold had players like Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook, Cody Walker, Alex Johnston, Sam Burgess and John Sutton who not only had the rugby league intellect to understand his complex structures and game plans, but had the ability to execute them on the training paddock and on game day.

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He didn’t have those calibre of players at the Broncos so his coaching style was never going to work. He had a very inexperienced roster which lacked leadership and experience so those young players needed a different method of education and development.

He coached them as if they had all played 200 games.

Club captain Alex Glenn has spent most of the 2020 season injured and in his place, Seibold named a 22-year-old with less than 30 games experience to stand-in as captain of arguably the biggest sporting club in Australia, which was getting flogged almost every week.

If Seibold had the same amount of experienced players on the Broncos roster as he had with Souths, things might very well be a lot different. But it became very clear, very quickly that he was incapable of coaching and managing a list of young players who were not ready and not able to do what he asked of them.


It led to an obvious disconnect between the players themselves and as a group, they no longer wanted to play under this coach.

There are a lot of other obvious factors that led to Seibold’s demise, such as roster management, whether he had enough of the right support around him, not listening to ideas from his leadership group, his relationship with the media, the social media dramas and the criticism from the Broncos Old Boys.

But for all Seibold’s shortcomings during his time in Brisbane, there is still no doubt that he can coach. Put him in charge of the Storm or Roosters and there’s a good chance he would have them in the top four. Unfortunately for Seibold, he was the wrong coach for what the Broncos need at this point in time.

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