Outgoing Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has blamed COVID-19 for the club’s worst season in its 33-season history as he steps up his battle for the online trolls who recently made his life hell in court to bring.
The 45-year-old has been the target of vile, defamatory and false rumors about his personal life in recent weeks, in addition to growing speculation about his uncertain future at the club.
The heavy toll was seen in an emotionally exhausted Seibold when he stood before the media for the last time as Broncos coach on Wednesday when he immediately left the role, less than two seasons after his five-year contract.
With a load off his shoulders, Seibold is now focused on going to the police to bring criminal charges against those responsible for the online smear campaign against him.
Anthony Seibold (pictured Wednesday) has vowed to bring criminal charges against those responsible for spreading recent rumors about his personal life
Seibold employed cybersecurity experts to track down the people behind the vicious rumors and has since received a report with a list of names, which he passed to his lawyer on Wednesday.
While he has yet to reveal their identities, it is believed that ‘prominent people’ are behind the rumors.
Seibold vowed not to stop criminal charges, but ruled out defamation action.
‘I don’t intend to make any money off this. What I have to do is make people responsible, ”he said Sydney Morning Herald.
“I want to take a situation, with the disgusting and mean things that have been written about me, and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Legal experts told Daily Mail Australia that online trolls could face hefty fines or up to three years in prison if found guilty of deliberately publishing defamatory material in the knowledge that it is false.
Seibold is grateful for the support of Channel Nine presenter Erin Molan, who has also been targeted by online trolls for the past 12 months.
Others also contacted include rival NRL Ivan Cleary and Shane Flanagan, Justin Langer of Australian cricket, Eddie Jones of England and former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
Rumors surrounding Seibold threatened to overshadow Wednesday’s press conference regarding his departure from the Broncos.
“I’ve had some good people approach me about this,” he said.
“Change is needed with regard to legislation on cyberbullying and bullying on social media, but that’s for another time.”
“I will certainly make an informed decision to go to the police and give them a list of names and have them handle it the way they want, but that’s not for today.”
Broncos CEO Paul White added, “Anthony has been the victim of a despicable set of circumstances we can all agree on.”
Seibold looked emotionally drained during Wednesday morning’s press conference
Seibold took responsibility for the Broncos’ horror season on and off the field, which will miss the final for the first time since the club in 1988.
Seinbold left the club with a 34 percent win rate, the worst of all coaches in Brisbane history.
He acknowledged his squad’s ‘great’ start to the season with two wins from their first two games before the NRL season was disrupted by the corona virus.
The Broncos have failed to recover from the two-month layoff with just one win since the season resumed in May.
“I thought it worked for 14 or 15 months,” said Seibold.
‘Where didn’t it work? It hasn’t worked since COVID.
‘After COVID we had trouble dealing with the bubble, but other teams have also had to deal with it. I can’t put my finger on it. ‘
Seibold declined to answer the question whether his players were not professional.
The chaos was compounded by off-field dramas, including the failure to stop young forward David Fifita from signing with Queensland rivals Gold Coast Titans and the suspension of Tevita Pangai Jnr and most likely being fired for multiple COVID violations. protocol.
The Broncos were recently fined $ 140,000 after 10 players violated biosafety protocols to have lunch in a pub on August 1, the day after their heartbreaking and close loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
The team was fined $ 75,000 by the NRL, and each of the ten players was fined five percent of their salary – a total of $ 65,000.
Anthony Seibold arrives at Brisbane Broncos headquarters to announce he is stepping down
While Seibold says he’s’ not in a relationship with his predecessor Wayne Bennett, the NRL supercoach was sympathetic.
“I feel for any coach who loses his job,” Bennett told reporters.
‘It is a tough job that we do, you (media) ask me that question, but you drive it just as fast as anyone else.
‘It is what it is, you get into coaching and you know what to expect and you just have to deal with it.
“None of us are victims.”
Seibold now returns to Sydney to be with his family.
He said the turning point recently went back to Brisbane, when he wanted to be with his teenage daughter.
“Ultimately, I only have control over what happens on the field,” Seibold told reporters on Wednesday.
‘I have no control over the story in the media, some things that are said on social media.’
‘Right now I want to spend more time with my family because they have made huge sacrifices recently.
“I think the last straw was to jump back on a plane from Sydney and leave my daughter. I wanted to be with my daughter. ‘
Anthony Seibold, pictured with wife Holly at the 2018 Dally M Awards, has been at the center of vile and defamatory rumors about his personal life in recent weeks
He admitted that his last day with the Broncos was emotional, where he broke down for players during their last meeting.
‘I’m not afraid to say I cried for the players. It was an emotional morning for the players, lots of hugs. You connect with people, you’re a footy team, it’s always emotional when you say goodbye, ‘he said.
Seibold said he made his decision last week.
“For many reasons, my time at the Broncos didn’t go the way we all hoped,” he said earlier in a club statement.
‘But that’s sports. We love sports because it is full of uncertainty. And rugby league seems to be raising more uncertainty than any other sport.
Head coaching at the NRL is not for the faint of heart. I know that. And I know that I will be a better coach, a better leader and a better person for all that I have learned. ‘
It’s a dramatic fall for a man who was a good thing after being named Dally M Coach of the Year in 2018 after his first campaign in charge of South Sydney resulted in 17 wins and 120 losses.
Brisbane Broncos captain Alex Glenn arrives at Broncos headquarters on Wednesday morning
Seibold replaces legendary coach Bennett and led the Broncos to the final in 2019, but the club crashed at the first hurdle after a 58-0 flogging by Parramatta.
Broncos assistant Peter Gentle will remain at the helm for the remaining five games of the 2020 season, the worst in the Broncos’ 33-year history.
Club great Kevin Walters is the leader to take over the role next season and has the support of several ex-players.
Paul Green, former North Queensland coach, is also a contender to rebuild the club.
Seibold’s Rise and Fall in Brisbane
September 2018: Anthony Seibold is named Dally M Coach of the Year after leading South Sydney to third place in his debut season as head coach
December 2018Seibold swaps clubs with NRL supercoach Wayne Bennett after being announced as Brisbane Broncos’ new coach for 2019
September 2019Brisbane has a sad start to the season and threatens to miss the final for the first time in the club’s 32-year history. The club bounces back to scrape into the NRL final in eighth place.
September 2019: The Broncos crash out of the final with a humiliating 58-0 thrashing against the Parramatta Eels, which at the time became the biggest loss in the club’s history
March 2020: The Broncos record two wins of their first two games of the season before the NRL is suspended due to COVID-19.
Anthony Seibold announced his immediate departure from the club on Wednesday
May 2020: The Broncos season restarts with a 43-6 loss against the Eels. The club has only had one win so far since the match resumed.
June 2020The Broncos’ misery continues the following week with an embarrassing 59-0 loss to the Sydney Roosters, the club’s worst ever defeat.
8 August 2020: Seibold leaves the NRL quarantine bubble and stays with his family in Sydney for personal reasons after losing his party to the Rabbitohs. He returns to Brisbane a few days later to undergo 14 days of quarantine
11 August 2020Seibold hires lawyers in response to rumors that his personal life is being spread online
August 26, 2020: Seibold retires as coach of Brisbane Broncos