Anthony Seibold is getting closer to finding out the names of the people responsible for spreading nasty rumours about him and his family, with a “key person” identified in the investigation.
The former Brisbane Broncos coach was forced to step down from his role in August after a vile campaign of online rumours and innuendo against him.
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He opted to take legal action and hired European cybercrime experts to help him track down the source of the rumours.
In an explosive interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night, he opened up about the damage it has caused his family and his reputation.
Seibold also claimed a NSWRL employee had been identified as a source linked to the rumours, but can't be named due to the ongoing police investigation.
Channel Nine rugby league reporter Danny Weidler says he is aware of the NSWRL employee's identity, but claims the investigation has moved on to contacts of that person in question.
“I know the person’s name. Phil Gould, Paul Gallen, greats of the Blues, would never have heard of this person,” Weidler said on Channel Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night.
“I would say he’s a fringe person at the NSWRL but he does have a role there. I don’t know whether his name is going to come out or not, but I don’t think he’s the person who started off this rumour.
“I think there’s interest from the investigators who have seen this man and talked to this man as to somebody who is in the contact list in his phone. I don’t know how they’re going to get to that person. But that person is the key to this, not the NSWRL person.”
The Australian reported on Monday that more names linked to the scandal had been shared with Seibold as part of the investigation but none of them were NSWRL employees.
NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said he was blindsided by suggestions that someone at his organisation was involved, claiming the 60 Minutes interview was the first time he'd heard about it.
He also denied that any full-time members of his staff were involved.
“I have had the opportunity today to have a number of conversations with various representatives of the NRL and Anthony Seibold,” Trodden said on Monday.
“While the various parties are unable to provide the identity of the person involved because of ongoing police investigations, I am confident that the person is not a full-time employee of NSWRL.
“Trolling is appalling... and action should be taken if it is properly proven. It should never be tolerated and we feel for Anthony Seibold and his family for what he has been put through.
“Equally, it is really important for me, as CEO of NSWRL, to make it clear that none of our full-time employees are involved in the alleged behaviour and it’s also important that our reputation is not unfairly tarnished.”
Ex-Broncos coach wants action taken against trolls
Seibold said he wants the police to be given greater powers to take action against online trolls after revealing the toll the ugly saga has taken on his family.
“It’s vicious. It’s disgusting. As I said, there’s no accountability that I can see in and around the social media platforms,” he said.
“If going forward there is some legislation change and there is some further accountability in and around using identification to social media accounts, then I think that’s a fantastic legacy to leave.”
The 45-year-old said the last few months have been particularly difficult for his family and admits that he was often left in a "dark place".
“It’s been hurtful to myself. It’s been hurtful to others. It’s been hurtful to people close to me,” he said.
“It’s been pretty tough, particularly the last couple of months. In some ways it’s like the Wild West out there.
“My situation went viral on social media ... my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.
“The very last message on social media was the one that probably upset me the most, because it spoke about my daughter.
“It was hard for everyone to see those messages … they obviously want to hurt myself and the others who were named in some way, shape or form.
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