Anthony Seibold has made a heartbreaking admission about his family after confirming his exit from the Brisbane Broncos on Wednesday.
Seibold addressed his players on Wednesday morning before fronting media to signal his departure from the club, less than two years into a five-year contract.
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The former Rabbitohs coach exits the Broncos after a troubled 12 months which included an embarrassing exit from last year's finals and the worst first grade season in the club's 32-year history in 2020.
"Last week, I made the decision to finish my tenure as coach of the Brisbane Broncos," Seibold said.
"Today, I am announcing that I will be stepping down from the role immediately.
"For many reasons, my time at the Broncos did not work out as we had all hoped.
.@brisbanebroncos coach Anthony Seibold says he will spend the next few weeks reflecting after stepping down from the NRL club. “From a professional viewpoint, this is the hardest decision I’ve had to make.” https://t.co/rD5l5H98tD #7NRL #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/UGF0hAfpVW
— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) August 25, 2020
"But that's sport. We love sport because it's full of uncertainty. And rugby league seems to throw up uncertainty better than any sport I know.
"Head coaching in the NRL isn't for the faint of heart. I know that. And I know that I'll be a better coach, a better leader and a better person for all that I have learnt."
Speculation has been rife for quite some time that Seibold would leave the Broncos this season, with the club in crisis and vile rumours about his personal life circulating online.
Seibold left Brisbane's quarantine bubble for family reasons earlier in the season so he could be with his wife and daughter, who were staying in Sydney.
He was then placed in isolation for a two-week period before rejoining the Brisbane fold this week.
When asked on Wednesday what the "final straw" was in making his decision to leave the club, Seibold made the emotional admission that it came down to his family.
“I think the final straw was hopping back on a plane from Sydney when I wanted to be with my daughter.”
Broncos CEO Paul White spoke at Wednesday's press conference about the toll the online speculation and scrutiny had taken on Seibold and the club.
"The levels of scrutiny - some of it bordering on hysterical, if not slanderous in recent times - have placed a heavy burden on Anthony and his family," CEO Paul White said.
"As a club, we have endeavoured to support Anthony and his loved ones through all of this.
"But at the end of the day only Anthony can understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Broncos Coach, and live with he highs and lows of the role."
Outgoing Brisbane coach shed some tears with players
Seibold admitted that was was "doing OK" despite all that has been written and said about him but admitted to shedding a few tears with his players.
“I’m not afraid to say I cried in front of the players, because I care about them a lot,” he said.
Seibold's exit is a dramatic fall for a man who was hot property after being named the Dally M coach of the year in 2018 after his maiden campaign in charge of South Sydney.
Replacing legendary coach Wayne Bennett, Seibold led the Broncos to the finals in 2019 only for the club to crash out at the first hurdle after a 58-0 flogging by Parramatta.
The 2020 season began with back-to-back victories but since the resumption in May following the COVID-enforced hiatus his position had become increasingly untenable.
A 34-6 flogging by the Eels in round three sparked a run of 12 defeats in 13 matches including a 59-0 record loss to the Sydney Roosters which has left the once-proud club 15th on the ladder.
Adding to the chaos were off-field dramas including failing to retain star young forward David Fifita from signing with Queensland rivals Gold Coast and Tevita Pangai Jnr being suspended and most likely sacked for multiple COVID protocol breaches.
Despite hopes Seibold could see out the season, he now leaves the club immediately with assistant Peter Gentle to coach the team for the remaining five matches of the season including Friday's return clash against the Roosters.
Club great Kevin Walters, overlooked by the Broncos' hierarchy in favour of Seibold in 2018, is the frontrunner for the role with the support of several ex-players.
North Queensland premiership-winning coach Paul Green is also a contender, with Cowboys captain Michael Morgan not surprised his former boss is in the discussion.