Seibold: ‘I couldn’t care less about coaching critics’
Besieged Broncos mentor Anthony Seibold has hit back at criticism of his coaching methods and addressed concerns over his mental health amid fears Brisbane's form crisis has pushed him to breaking point.
Seibold is mired in the worst form slump of his 15-year coaching career, with the Broncos coach having never before lost six consecutive games ahead of Saturday night's crucial clash with Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium.
Seibold enters the Round 9 contest with the worst record of any coach in Broncos history. With a 39 per cent win record, he is well adrift of the standards set by former coaches Ivan Henjak (52.9), Anthony Griffin (53.5) and Wayne Bennett, who was sacked in 2018 with a 64 per cent success rate.
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The Broncos coaching throne is arguably the most pressurised role in Australian sport and Brisbane's recent collapse to 14th has raised queries over Seibold's future and whether he can cope with the stresses.
But as he prepares for one of the most important games of his career against the Bulldogs, Seibold insists he isn't cracking under the pressure and has faith in Broncos players to stabilise the club.
"I'm coping OK," Seibold said.
"It's not an easy job coaching the Broncos and it's never nice losing this many games.
"We've lost six straight games and I've never lost that many in my career in a row, that's brand new, but the longer you are in the game, the more likely that is going to happen. It happens to all coaches and players, but I'm holding up fine. I've got good perspective on things and in this job, you need to show some leadership.
"I'm working really hard to try and turn things around. We showed some glimpses of playing better for longer against the Warriors (in last week's 26-16 loss).
"In the first 30 minutes, we were great defensively and really strong with how we went about our work. We lost our way in the second half, a bit similar to the Manly game, but I saw some signs of improvement.
"It's my job to provide some stability for the team. I am trying to simplify the message. The guys need to get away from football when they are not at training, it's important they switch off and I encourage that. But when we are at training, we need to work hard and work smart and it's a collective effort.
"We won't get out of this as individuals, it's a collective effort to get better and it involves the players, the staff and myself."
Some of the code's sharpest minds, including Phil Gould, Andrew Johns and Michael Ennis, have taken aim at Seibold in recent months. He has been accused of over-coaching and failing to provide a clear direction for Brisbane's playing style.
Seibold did not appear to have that problem two years ago at Souths, when he presided over the fast-paced, quick ball shifts that saw the Rabbitohs charge to the 2018 preliminary final.
"It's not for me to comment on how people think I coach or teach, I couldn't care less about what they say about me, to be honest," he said.
"When you lose, people want to make whatever assessments they want.
"I haven't seen too much commentary because I tend to stay away from it, but in fairness, we have had a lot of injuries and it's been tough to build the combinations we've wanted to build.
"In the first few rounds, we've had really good combinations but since the first two rounds, we've had constant changes to our team."
A fortnight ago, it was rumoured Seibold told Broncos players at a team meeting after their 27-6 loss to Newcastle he would be stepping back into an overseer's role.
That was supposedly designed to give assistants Peter Gentle and Kurt Richards more hands-on time with the players at training, while Seibold adopted a helicopter view of the organisation.
But Seibold says his role has not changed and is as committed to Broncos players as he has ever been.
"I'm not stepping back as head coach at all," he said.
"It's more me being able to see things over the top.
"We've had some gaps without staff with Ben Cross's redundancy and Corey Parker not able to come back into the COVID bubble, so I'm making sure Peter and Kurt can take up the slack.
"There's no change to what I'm doing as head coach. I'm not sure where the rumours come from but my role here hasn't changed, I've just given my assistants a little more responsibility.
"My assistants are always hands-on at training. With 'Crossy' and 'Cozza' not being here, I've got Kurt Richards doing a bit more with the defensive side of things and Peter Gentle is looking after the attack side of things.
"I'm overseeing both parts."
Seibold blasted suggestions Broncos players are not playing for the famous jumper.
"There is so much effort from the guys," he said.
"A week before we were heavily criticised because Issac Luke was laughing with one of his mates after the Titans loss and this week they have been giving it to our players for crying after a game.
"They hurt when they lose. Our whole club hurts. There's a lot of young guys making their way as NRL players.''
Originally published as Seibold: 'I couldn't care less about coaching critics'