Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has responded to Wayne Bennett’s scathing criticism of the struggling NRL side.
Bennett exited the club in 2018, a year before his contract was due to expire, and balked at recent suggestions from Brisbane chairman Karl Morris that the Broncos’ run of bad form since the coach left was due to a rebuilding phase.
“We always thought it was going to take two years for [Seibold] to sort out the issues he was inheriting,” Morris told Nine this week.
That prompted Bennett to vehemently defend himself and go on the attack at the Broncos and Seibold’s coaching.
“It was my intention to remain silent, but if the Brisbane chairman or any other person at the Broncos wants to make false assertions, I will set the record straight,” Bennett told News Corp.
“The chairman must be oblivious to the running of the club – if the roster was so bad, why would Anthony Seibold take the job?
“I have no doubt he thought he could win a premiership with this Broncos roster.
“No coach, particularly a young one, would take a job with an inferior roster to the one he is leaving. You just don’t do that.
“I did not coach or have a rundown football team at the Broncos.
“Seibold has 12 players with Origin or Test experience.”
At a press conference at Red Hill on Thursday, Seibold suggested he would quit before he was sacked by the Broncos, if it came to that.
“If at some stage the Broncos don’t think I’m the right person for the job, then that’s their decision,” he said.
“I have a really strong contract there, it’s not performance-based, but at the end of the day, I’ll know if I’m not the right person for the job.
“I won’t need anyone else to tap me on the shoulder.”
Seibold is just two seasons into his five-year contract with the Brisbane NRL team, and denied having any issues with the roster he inherited after Bennett’s departure, as the club chairman suggested.
“I have never criticised the roster publicly or privately,” he said.
“Every single conversation I have had is about how we can continue to grow the group and the exciting part is we have so many guys in the zero-to-30 game region.
“I have never said anything else different to that.”
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“In response to the external commentary, the last couple of weeks have been pretty intense, we have been on the wrong side of the scoreboard, but internally there has been no loss of belief.
“One of the biggest things I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks during some trying times for our club is that willingness to stick together.
“Our relationships are really strong across our playing group and our staff and we are working hard to get better.”
The Broncos have a chance to end their five-game losing streak this weekend against the equally stumbling New Zealand Warriors, fresh off the shock sacking of their coach Stephen Kearney.