FOUR coaches moved clubs in a day of unprecedented upheaval across the NRL coaching landscape on Thursday.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett’s decision to sign a two-year-deal with South Sydney sent shockwaves across the game and stole the headlines.
However, hidden in Bennett’s shadow were a series of coaching appointments.
There is more carnage still to come with Bennett and Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold reportedly still negotiating a coaching swap that would allow them to change clubs ahead of the start of pre-season training — just two weeks away.
Here’s how the rugby league world reacted to the drama:
BRONCOS’ HUGE GAMBLE ON INEXPERIENCED COACH
He doesn’t look like the sharpest coach in rugby league.Source:Getty Images
BRISBANE officials have been criticised for needlessly staking its club’s future on an “unproven” one-year coach.
Reports on Thursday claimed the club has chased Seibold ever since it was left red-faced by Storm coach Craig Bellamy’s decision to knock the Broncos’ coaching offer back.
Broncos legend Glenn Lazarus voiced his concern about the appointment of Anthony Seibold on Friday morning, declaring it is “unbelievable” that the Broncos were so desperate to sign Seibold when he was just halfway through his first season as an NRL coach.
“Before he had even completed his first year as a first grade coach, the Broncos were desperate for him,” Lazarus told Macquarie Sports Radio.
‘What is it about him? Obviously they missed out on their first priority which was Craig Bellamy, but what is it about Seibold? No disrespect to Anthony Seibold, and he appears to be nice guy and we were around the Broncos (together) around the same time, but it just amazes me.
“Then we get other coaches who have been sacked by other clubs because of the performance of the team they were coaching being chased like there’s no tomorrow. Honestly, you could write a movie about it.”
NOW | Glenn Lazarus “What is it about Anthony Seibold, no disrespect. You could write a movie about this coaching circus, it’s just unbelievable!”
? 1278AM Melb, 954AM Syd, 882AM Bri and DAB+ Per pic.twitter.com/LQqyy9bqYO
With the club on the verge of securing Seibold’s signature following Wayne Bennett’s decision to sign a two-year deal at the Rabbitohs, they’ve been warned that their coaching decision is fraught with danger.
According to contrasting reports, the Broncos have negotiated a three-year deal with Seibold. The Australian reports the deal could be as long as a five-year contract.
Macquarie Sports Radio’s Mark Levy on Friday reminded the Broncos about the huge risk the club is taking on a coach with just one year of senior coaching experience in the NRL.
Seibold, the Dally M coach of the year in 2018, turned the Rabbitohs around since replacing Michael Maguire at the end of 2017.
However, Levy warned there is no guarantee that success will transfer to the Broncos.
“They’ve signed him on potential. He’s not a proven premiership winner yet,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“He did a fantastic job of turning around South Sydney, but he’s still unproven.
“That’s the gamble the Brisbane Broncos are taking. That’s the big punt they are now committed to.”
Levy also criticised Seibold for the messy circumstances surrounding his exit.
The rookie coach has now been accused of lying to supporters about his intentions of moving to the Broncos since it was first reported in June.
“I know for a fact that he’s looked south Sydney supporters in the eye at recent functions and told them that he’s staying at South Sydney,” Levy said.
“My criticism of Anthony Seibold is that he just should have been honest. He’s wanted to go to the Broncos from the start and nobody could begrudge him that he wanted to return home if he’d just said that from the start.”
Seibold will reportedly be unveiled by the Broncos next week following a meeting of the club’s board of directors on Tuesday.
The signing of Wayne Bennett to @SSFCRABBITOHS is ludicrous. They’ve let go Anthony Siebold (rookie coach with a big future and could have led the club for a decade), replacing him with someone pushing 70 and closing in on retirement. I wish Siebold was just honest from day 1
GOULD EXCITED TO SEE BENNETT AT REDFERN
What caused all the bother.Source:AAP
WAYNE Bennett could become the first person in Australian rugby league history to win premierships with three different clubs — and Panthers supremo Phil Gould is here for it.
The Channel 9 commentator on Thursday praised South Sydney for signing the 68-year-old rugby league icon — declaring many players at the club will benefit from Bennett’s mentoring.
While many NRL commentators believe the Rabbitohs are taking a considerable risk in signing Bennett through to the end of the 2021 season — when the super coach will be nearing 72-yeard-old — Gould insisted South Sydney has made the right call after Seibold informed the club of his desire to join the Broncos.
Great coach. Great club. Great chance to be the first coach in history to win premierships at three different clubs. Don’t write him off. https://t.co/UpeMC48NsT
It will be a great experience for the Souths players. https://t.co/1UcHWsuNnf
Bennett dug his heels in on Thursday, declaring he still intends to remain at the Broncos in 2019, despite signing for the Bunnies for the 2020 season.
It leaves both the Broncos and the Bunnies in the untenable position of knowing their head coaches will be leaving the club at the end of the 2019 season.
South Sydney has also declared it is comfortable with Seibold remaining at the club in 2019.
Those declarations have reportedly put pressure on the Broncos to offer Bennett a pay-out of his 2019 contract — to allow the two coaches to switch clubs immediately.
“I’m staying at the Broncos (for 2019),” Bennett told The Courier Mail.
“I’m not interested in a straight swap.
“At no stage have I discussed a swap with Anthony Seibold with South Sydney.
“They knew I wasn’t available for 2019, so that’s why I have signed with Souths for 2020 and beyond.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m at the Broncos in 2019 and Seibold will be at South Sydney.
“Whether the Broncos make any moves, I don’t know.
“But I have always been committed to Brisbane for 2019. Until I’m told differently I will continue coaching the Broncos.”
The Broncos are widely tipped to be one of the big improvers in 2019 with some commentators declaring the club only needs an organising halfback to be a premiership contender next season.
BARRETT CAVES IN SEA EAGLES STAND-OFF
TRENT Barrett has reportedly sent Manly a legal letter, offering a peace offering to solve their coaching dispute.
The Sea Eagles have already signed Des Hasler to coach the club in 2019, despite Barrett remaining contracted until the middle of the 2019 season following his resignation earlier this year.
Barrett and the Sea Eagles have been locked in negotiations for months surrounding a potential pay-out for Barrett to walk away from the remainder of his contract.
The messy situation has damaged the reputations of both parties.
According to reports, Barrett has asked for $400,000 to walk away from his contract, but would be willing to accept a figure of around $300,000.
New coach Des Hasler has said he does not want Hasler as an assistant coach next year, despite the club informing Barrett he must continue to perform his coaching duties or risk being found in breach of his contract.
The Sea Eagles have reportedly not yet responded to Barrett’s peace-offering which has reportedly put-forward a payment plan that would satisfy Barrett and end the dispute.
WESTS TIGERS AGREE TO MAGUIRE DEAL
He’s back.Source:News Corp Australia
IVAN Cleary could be free to join son Nathan at the Panthers as early as Friday following news the club has agreed to a three-year deal with Michael Maguire.
In another messy divorce where Cleary repeatedly stated his intention to fulfil his contract with the Tigers, the coach is now expected to be released to return to Penrith.
Cleary earlier this year signed with the Panthers on a three-year-deal beginning in 2021. His contract with the Tigers expires in 2020.
His decision to sign with the Panthers created an untenable situation for the Tigers, who are reportedly seeking a compensation payment from the Panthers before they consent to release Cleary two years early.
The Tigers are now reportedly just waiting on finalising a deal with the Panthers before they can announce Maguire’s signature.
The Tigers were also in the race for veteran coach Ivan Cleary, but they have now been forced to take up Plan B with Maguire.
The Tigers have only ever held any real interest in Bennett and Maguire, with chief executive Justin Pascoe determined to deliver a credentialed replacement if he is to release Ivan Cleary to Penrith.
Maguire had firmed in the past week even before the news of Bennett joining the Rabbitohs, and reports emerged on Thursday evening the Kiwis coach had agreed to a three-year deal with the club.
Maguire is currently on tour of England with New Zealand but would likely be back in Sydney for November 15 when the majority of Tigers players return to pre-season training.
If he was to join, the 2014 premiership-winner would continue his job with the Kiwis after having declared earlier this month he wanted to get back into the NRL while also juggling a representative role.
Cleary is expected to be announced as the Panthers’ coach before the club begins pre-season training on November 12.
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