Brisbane have said under-fire coach Anthony Seibold's position will be reviewed at the end of the season, with growing expectation that he will be sacked.
Two leading voices in the NRL say certain issues at the Broncos will inevitably leave the club with no other choice.
'WHAT IS DOING': Investigation into 'ridiculous' NRL crowd
'DO SOMETHING': Jacinda Ardern urged to fix Warriors dilemma
'I'M FILTHY': Raiders star lashes 'terrible' Indigenous jersey
Discussing the 15th-placed Broncos' ninth defeat in 10 games, Michael Ennis said the most concerning thing for him is that many players - particularly some of the club's young stars - appear to be regressing under Seibold's leadership.
Ennis suggested that while some other clubs are also struggling, the improvements in the team and for individual players is obvious.
The former NSW Origin hooker pointed to the development of the Wests Tigers under coach Michael Maguire and said he simply cannot see the same thing happening at the Broncos.
Ennis says Brisbane young guns Payne Haas and Xavier Coates seem to be going backwards this season and fears it will only get worse unless Brisbane make some tough calls.
“That’s the problem with all the Brisbane players. When we talk about Penrith and talk about how they’ve improved as individuals, where Michael Maguire has taken the Wests Tigers and the standards that they’re setting ... you can see the improvement in some of their players like Josh Aloiai,” Ennis said on Fox Sports’ Big League Wrap.
“I don’t see that at Brisbane. I’ve got great fears for guys like Payne Haas and Jake Turpin and Xavier Coates and Kotoni Staggs.
“Kotoni Staggs has been the exception, he’s the one player that has shone through this disaster.”
Fox Sports colleague and Daily Telegraph rugby league reporter James Hooper told Ennis that it was for precisely the reasons he highlighted, that Seibold won't keep his job at the end of the season - despite having three years to go on his five-year deal.
“The points that you have just underlined there are exactly why I can’t see how Anthony Seibold will remain at Red Hill beyond this season,” Hooper told Ennis.
“They’ll give him until the end of the year. This season is essentially a write-off, beyond that I think we’ll see a new coach there next year.
“The results over the course of the last two months will dictate that he cannot survive beyond this season at the Brisbane Broncos. It’s as simple as that.
“They are arguably the biggest club and the most flagship club in the NRL. There is no way, irrespective of the fact this board, and the powerbrokers at the club are the ones who made the decision to go and sign him.
“As the losses continue to mount, and the differential continues to plummet below minus-200, that is simply no-go zone.”
Broncos coach defiant after latest defeat
The Broncos should have been celebrating their fourth win of the season against the Sharks in round 12 but somehow contrived to squander a 26-18 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Instead that advantage had become a 36-26 defeat by full-time as the Sharks stormed home with three tries in eight minutes.
The shocking implosion led to more questions about Seibold's future, with the coach insisting he will not walk away from the club.
“I certainly won’t be quitting. I don’t think quitting is an example that this young group needs to see or wants to see.
“We made some big steps forward in the last two weeks but ultimately we lost both games and conceded a lot of points.
Anthony Seibold has declared he won't quit despite another second half capitulation by the @brisbanebroncos.— Nine News Gold Coast (@9NewsGoldCoast) August 1, 2020
Meanwhile, David Fifita will make his long-awaited return when #Brisbane face South Sydney in a grudge match next Friday night. @MarkGottlieb #9News pic.twitter.com/DYp1HfjrvH
“But I think everyone can see where we’re heading there tonight, it was a much better performance.
“That’s not my decision … but I won’t be quitting, that’s for sure.”
When asked if he was getting the best out of his players Seibold added: “I thought for 70 minutes it was a very, very good performance but the game at NRL level goes for 80.
“Last week we were good for 40 minutes, this week we were good for 70 minutes.
“We need to continue to work and improve our performances. I thought it was a big step in the right direction from an attacking point of view but we just can’t concede that many points.
“And to concede three tries in the last 10 minutes without touching the footy just in some ways summed up our year today.”