Kent: Strange Seibold story threatens to take nasty turn
The latest chapters in The Saga of Anthony Seibold have caused a substantial ruckus around the game of rugby league and, sadly, don't make for light reading.
With alarming swiftness several social media accounts around the game went into private mode this week, while several more were also locked down, seemingly on suspicion.
Almost as swiftly a guessing game arose around the game as to who was behind the smear campaign and whether the tough talking words from Seibold's lawyer, Dave Garrett, will lead to a small number of rugby league identities being outed.
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The list of names grows and is becoming almost as ridiculous as the claims about Seibold itself. Never underestimate the collective stupidity of social media.
If Garrett does deliver, though, and the matter heads to court, it will be embarrassing not only for those concerned but the game itself.
How did it ever come to this?
Meanwhile, of more importance, Seibold immerses himself back in the bubble this weekend and by Monday will be back coaching the Broncos for Friday's game against the Sydney Roosters, an unfortunate case of timing on his part.
Seibold needs to be watched closely, with a caring eye.
There have been worrying signs lately.
He added to the strange narrative earlier in the week, for instance, when he claimed he was "angry" at the NRL for failing to check in on him after he engaged lawyers to chase down the culprits behind his smear campaign.
"I thought someone could have reached out," he said.
"Even just a phone call to check in. It's been bloody hard."
It was a curious complaint from Seibold - of all the things going wrong in his world right now, a phone call from the NRL, you would think, would have to sit toward the lower end of priorities.
Seibold also didn't seem to understand that his employer is the Brisbane Broncos, who he confirmed have been in contact with him to check his welfare. He also admitted that the NRL, who is not his employer, did call the Broncos to check on him.
More worrying than Seibold's complaint itself is the fact it was made at all.
But the confusion Seibold is currently in was then underlined just days later when Tevita Pangai, fighting to save his job at Seibold's Broncos after being breached for breaking COVID restrictions, revealed Seibold had not contacted him to check on his welfare.
Seibold's complaint reveals the fragile mental state he is in.
And it questions whether he is currently fit to coach the Broncos.
His perspective is lost.
His language is weakening. Where once Seibold was resolute and even bullish about his future at the Broncos, and his ability to get them out of the trouble they are in, now he is passive.
He is dining on a supper of hope.
Privately, he has admitted he can't understand where it went wrong and how he can get the Broncos out of their freefall.
The Broncos have traveled so far down the wrong track it is no longer a quick fix. Ten weeks ago it might have been.
Just a few calls are needed to confirm the relationship between Seibold and his players is fractured, possibly beyond repair. Some are privately wondering how much longer he can remain as head coach.
The players are confused. Their uncertainty has fostered a lack of motivation which appears as a lack of effort.
For instance for the past 11 weeks Seibold has, in some form or another, identified the team's lack of resilience for each of their losses.
It is concerning enough that a year and a half into his stint in Brisbane he has not got it right. Most an area of the game that simply requires coaching in its purest form.
And now Seibold is being beaten down by a social media campaign that got wildly out of control.
He has engaged lawyers to identify the authors behind the rumour mongering and so far has not revealed whether he will pursue criminal or defamation charges once he has the information in his hands.
It is a bold gamble by Seibold, and in its purest sense admirable.
But is it wise?
Or is it just another poor decision in a season swimming with them?
It would not be the first mistaken decision Seibold has made this season.
Already some are wondering whether he truly intends to name and shame and possibly sue the authors of the campaign or whether it is merely a scare campaign to stop further comment as he tries to resurrect his career while also turning around the Broncos.
For sure, once the matter gets inside a courtroom and witnesses are put on the stand Seibold surrenders control. Anything can be said.
And, whoever it is in the crosshairs, you can be sure those people will be working just as hard to validate their claims as Seibold has worked to get them on the stand.
It could get very nasty.
Originally published as Kent: Strange Seibold story threatens to take nasty turn