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Why I quit Broncos: Seibold says leaving daughter in Sydney was 'final straw'

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Embattled Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has stepped down immediately to spend more time with family, including a daughter in Sydney, saying they have made “enormous sacrifices” for him.

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The settlement, agreed upon yesterday between Seibold and the club’s board, was formally announced this morning.

The former coach addressed the media after an “emotional” meeting with players.

“I get judged with what happens on the field, I take responsibility for that,” he said.

“I thought it was best for the Broncos and myself that we separate.

“The final straw was hopping on a plane back from Sydney when I wanted to be with my daughter.”

Seibold said he had decided last week to end his tenure and a meeting was held with chairman Karl Morris.

Broncos chief executive Paul White said while Seibold had been in home isolation after travelling interstate, he reflected on his role at the club “and the impact it is having on his life away from rugby league”.

“The role as coach of the Broncos is one of the most high-profile and high-pressure in Australian sport, and Anthony has performed admirably since starting in late 2018,” Mr White said.

“But the levels of scrutiny — some of it bordering on hysterical, if not slanderous in recent times — have placed a heavy burden on Anthony and his family.

“As a club, we have endeavoured to support Anthony and his loved ones through all of this.”

Mr White said he and the board were accountable for hiring Seibold, along with today’s decision for the coach to step down.

“Can we do better, could we do better? Absolutely,” he said.

“At the time there was widespread support for our decision.

“For all the right reasons that decision was made then, it hasn’t worked out.”

For the remainder of the season, Peter Gentle will continue to coach the team, as he has done for the past fortnight.

The Board will begin the search for a new coach immediately but White said they would not place a timeline on that process.

White said Seibold “can coach, and will coach again”.

Seibold exits the Broncos after a troubled 12 months which included an embarrassing exit from last year’s finals and the worst first-grade season in the club’s 32-year history in 2020.

It’s a dramatic fall for a man who was hot property after being named the Dally M coach of the year in 2018 after his maiden campaign in charge of South Sydney.

Replacing legendary coach Wayne Bennett, Seibold led the Broncos to the finals in 2019 only for the club to crash out at the first hurdle after a 58-0 flogging by Parramatta.

The 2020 season began with back-to-back victories but since the resumption in May following the COVID-enforced hiatus his position had become increasingly untenable.

A 34-6 flogging by the Eels in round three sparked a run of 12 defeats in 13 matches including a 59-0 record loss to the Sydney Roosters which has left the once-proud club 15th on the ladder.

Adding to the chaos were off-field dramas including failing to retain star young forward David Fifita from signing with Queensland rivals Gold Coast and Tevita Pangai Jnr being suspended and most likely sacked for multiple COVID protocol breaches.

Despite hopes Seibold could see out the season, he will now leave the club immediately with assistant Peter Gentle to coach the team for the remaining five matches of the season including Friday’s return clash against the Roosters.

Club great Kevin Walters, overlooked by the Broncos’ hierarchy in favour of Seibold in 2018, is the frontrunner for the role with the support of several ex-players.

North Queensland premiership-winning coach Paul Green is also a contender, with Cowboys captain Michael Morgan not surprised his former boss is in the discussion.

“I said when he left here that I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see him coaching.” Morgan said.

“I’m sure he’s had some interest at other clubs … it’s not surprising to see that his name is tossed up.”

-AAP, additional reporting ABC

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