Veteran journalist Paul Crawley has let rip at the Brisbane Broncos and labelled the club’s mismanagement this season as one of NRL’s ‘greatest stuff-ups”
The axe has fallen on embattled Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold after the Broncos' disastrous 2020 NRL season.
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Seibold addressed his players on Wednesday morning before fronting the media, confirming his departure less than two years into a five-year contract.
Seibold 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.
But Crawley, before Seibold officially announced his departure, went one step further claimed the club was an at a point of ‘utter disaster’ and heads needed go roll.
“How can these guys who masterminded the plan to give Anthony Seibold a five or six-year contract escape, and just leave him as the sole scapegoat of the whole operation that has been the greatest stuff-up in rugby league history,” Crawley said on Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
“It’s not over-exaggerating. This has been the greatest stuff-up in rugby league, ever. This is the powerhouse club of rugby league that’s now staring at a wooden spoon. A complete and utter disaster.
“At the start of last year, almost everyone had the Broncos as a top-four team. Joey (Andrew Johns), among many, had them winning the comp.”
Sebold leaves the Broncos after a tumultuous time as head coach.
Seibold announces Broncos departure
The Broncos held a press conference on Wednesday as Seibold announced he will be stepping down immediately, but hopes to come back as a better coach.
"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.
"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."
It's 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.
"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.