New Manly coach Anthony Seibold has singled out league icon Phil Gould for praise after returning to the NRL coaching ranks from a disastrous spell in Brisbane. Seibold went from being named Dally M Coach of the Year in 2018 at the Rabbitohs, to being axed by the Broncos two years into a lucrative five-year deal in 2020.
Seibold parted ways midway through a disastrous second season with the Broncos, in which Brisbane picked up the first wooden spoon in the club's history after ending the NRL season in last place. Many feared the chastening experience in Brisbane may have spelled the end of a coaching career that had started off with so much promise at South Sydney.
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The 48-year-old then took up a position in rugby union as part of Eddie Jones' coaching staff with the England national side. Seibold - who worked as a defensive coach under Jones - was then given blessing by England to take up an opportunity to replace Des Hasler at the Sea Eagles, following the veteran coach's sacking in the wake of the infamous Pride jersey saga.
Seibold admits he had serious reservations about returning to the NRL as a head coach, so painful was his experience with the Broncos and the fallout that ensued. " There was certainly a time after my previous head coach experience (at Brisbane) that I thought maybe I didn't want to be a head coach again," Seibold told 9News.
However, Seibold said the relationship he'd forged with Gould during his time in Brisbane helped steel him for another crack in the NRL coaching hot-seat. The Sea Eagles mentor said Gould was always generous with his time and proved a valuable sounding board for Seibold to bounce ideas off.
" Phil was really generous with his time when I was coaching the Broncos," Seibold revealed. "There was one time I spent a full day at Phil's house ... talking with one of the best minds in the game for the best part of six or seven hours.
Phil Gould's words ring true for Anthony Seibold
After Seibold's unceremonious exit from Brisbane, his reluctance to return to a head coaching role would have been completely understandable. However, the 48-year-old said some valuable words of advice from Gould helped keep the fire burning.
" There was a message he said to me after I finished up at the Broncos, it was around, 'don't hide behind the curtains' - the message I took was even though (it had been) a really challenging time, get back out there and hold your head high."
Seibold would have loved what he saw from Manly during their two recent trial wins, with the Sea Eagles pocketing the $100,000 prize for winning the NRL Pre-Season Challenge. The Manly coach was dealt a blow before their round one home clash against the Bulldogs on March 4, with new five-eighth Josh Schuster on Tuesday ruled out of the opener due to a calf injury.
Schuster picked up the injury in Friday's 28-16 victory over the Sydney Roosters, with MRI scans on Tuesday confirming his much-awaited crack at shining in the No.6 jersey will be delayed. The 21-year-old will be unavailable for the home game against the Bulldogs, but with Manly having the bye in round two, he's expected to be fit for the clash against Parramatta in round three.
Schuster's unavailability will provide an early opportunity for either Cooper Johns or Kaeo Weekes. Seibold said Weekes was a standout against the Roosters where he started at fullback and had three try assists and a line break, while running for 130m. Johns, 23, played both trials in the halves and has more NRL experience than Weekes after playing 11 NRL games for Melbourne in the past three seasons.
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