NRL 2020: Anthony Seibold rumours may spark drastic action, penalties
The investigation into who is responsible for spreading ugly rumours about Anthony Seibold’s personal life may take months to conclude as the NRL weighs up taking action of its own.
The Broncos coach has hired legal representation and European cybersecurity experts to track down the source of the rumours. His lawyer Dave Garratt has said a “prominent name” has become a person of interest in the investigation, with further reports indicating the origin of the smear campaign has links to the NRL.
Even though Garratt is reportedly in possession of a dossier detailing the findings of the investigation thus far, and says there’s a “90 per cent chance” those responsible will be identified, Broncos chairman Karl Morris told The Australian the matter may be a long way from over.
“The report is in, I am yet to read it but it could take weeks or months of further investigation,” Morris said.
While Seibold is paying out of his own pocket to fund the investigation, the Sydney Morning Herald reports the NRL Integrity Unit may step in if a rugby league player, coach or official is found to have links to the dramatic saga.
The Integrity Unit has the power to seize phones to investigate a possible code of conduct breach and can stamp people out of the NRL for good if they are found to be behind the Seibold rumours.
Media lawyer Justin Quill told The Courier Mail if Seibold pursues a civil case he may be entitled to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in damages.
ONE PIECE OF POSITIVE NEWS
On the professional front, Seibold has received the backing of Broncos powerbrokers to at least see out the season as the club suffers its worst on-field slump in history.
Brisbane is second-last on the ladder, having won just three of 14 games — and only a single victory since the NRL season restarted in late May.
Seibold is in the second year of a five-year deal but speculation has intensified he may not see out the season ever since he was forced into two weeks of self-isolation after remaining in Sydney because of a “serious” family matter after the Broncos’ Round 13 loss to the Rabbitohs.
He’s expected to return to normal duties on Monday and Channel 9’s Ben Dobbin reported the club has responded to Seibold’s request to either back him or sack him by showing the coach its support until the end of 2020.
Dobbin reported Karl Morris was “adamant Anthony Seibold will remain the coach of the Brisbane Broncos until at least the end of the year when they do their review”.
“He (Morris) told me he (Seibold) is two years into a five-year deal and they do not believe he is the wrong bloke for this job,” Dobbin added.
“He is committed to Anthony Seibold as the coach and so is the board.”
GREATS CLASH OVER SEIBOLD’S FUTURE
Meanwhile, NRL great Brad Fittler and rugby league guru Phil Gould have differing views on what Seibold’s next step should be.
NSW coach Fittler believes if Seibold walks away of his own accord, he may never land another NRL coaching gig.
“If he walks away from here that’s the end of coaching I’d say for Anthony Seibold,” Fittler told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“He went up to the Broncos with a pretty good team and everything has turned to crap pretty quickly, so there’s a big chance that when all the dust settles, a lot of it is going to be on Anthony Seibold’s shoulders and he’s going to have to wait an awful long time for another gig.
“Walking away isn’t that easy, this could possibly be the end of a coaching dream.
“You wonder how much value could he be adding at the moment, but if I was him, I’m not sure walking away is the best answer.”
On the other hand, Nine commentator Gould says leaving the pressure cooker at Red Hill would be the best thing for Seibold’s health and wellbeing.
“I wouldn’t blame him if he walked away from this, for his own sanity and for the peace of mind of his family,” Gould said on the Six Tackles With Gus podcast.
“Being as coaches, we’re competitive people we don’t want to give in to these types of things, but there’s a reality there — that would probably be the best course of action.”
Originally published as Drastic action looms over vile rumours