Former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold says a recent report which put forward that a ‘well-known figure’ in NRL circles was behind a series of vicious rumours about him is incorrect.
Seibold’s tenure as head coach came to an end last week, after a tumultuous 2020 season in which the Broncos have only won three games so far, as well as being embroiled in numerous off-field scandals.
The former coach took a short leave of absence to be with his family in the weeks before stepping down from the role, using the time to engage lawyers and recruit a cybersecurity expert to trace the origin of various damaging personal rumours.
A report in The Australian claimed a ‘well-known figure’ was behind the rumours, but Seibold told Channel Nine reporter Danny Weidler that it simply wasn’t true.
“It’s not someone of profile,’’ Seibold said.
‘‘All of that talk is wrong.
“I’ve only just got out of the bubble and seen my lawyer and it’s not the name you have put to me.’’
Seibold has funded the investigation into the rumours himself, but the NRL Integrity Unit could still become involved if it’s found that a player, coach or official is involved.
The Integrity Unit can seize the phones of a player or official involved as part of the investigations.
Anthony Seibold’s heartbreaking ‘final straw’
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.”
When asked 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."