Anthony Seibold has angrily denied a long-standing rumour that he undermined Michael Maguire to get his first NRL head coaching role at the Rabbitohs.
The former Broncos coach used to work as one of Maguire's assistants at South Sydney, before replacing the now Wests Tigers coach at the end of the 2017 season.
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Maguire famously coached the Bunnies to their first premiership in 43 years when South Sydney won the 2014 NRL grand final.
However, things between 'Madge' and the Rabbitohs took a turn for the worse over the proceeding years, with the club part-owned by Russell Crowe deciding they needed an injection of fresh ideas for the 2018 season.
Rather than turn to a more experienced first grade coach, the Bunnies decided to promote within their ranks, and handed Seibold a shot at the big time.
In an interview with the Talking With TK podcast, Seibold explains the complexities around replacing Maguire, but described any suggestions that he undermined his predecessor as “absolute f***ing bulls**t”.
“At Souths the opportunity just came up overnight,” Seibold said.
“We were doing a review meeting and I got a phone call from the general manager of football Shane Richardson.
“He said: look we’ve decided to part ways with Michael Maguire immediately if any media call it’s no comment, we’ll update you later on.
“And then the next day, Richo asked me to meet and he said look we want to promote from within and we want to try and get some continuity going.
“They’d obviously spoken to some people in the group and that’s how it happened. It was not something that I had thought about. It was really hard because I’ve known Madge since 1998 and I played with him at Canberra.
“I’ve seen rumours that I undermined him – it’s all bulls**t, absolute f***ing bulls**t. Pardon my language, but it made it hard between me and Madge because that’s what people wanted to report because that’s a good story.
“The story came out after I left South Sydney so I understand there’s agendas at play. I rang Madge and Madge will tell you this … I wanted to talk to you before I sign the contract.
“I told Souths I wouldn’t sign until I spoke to Madge and said this is what’s happened and he said mate, you’ve worked hard for an opportunity. And you feel for him because he’s a good guy and a good coach.”
Seibold's first season in the top job at the Bunnies culminated in a preliminary final appearance and saw him named Dally M Coach of the year.
Seibold lasted one season as Rabbitohs head coach
However, it also saw the Broncos come knocking for the Queensland-born coach, who admits that Brisbane's six-year offer was too good to refuse, despite not initially wanting to leave the Rabbitohs.
“I still love Souths,” he said.
“I hope they have a good season, I love the boys that I coached that are still there.
“They were fantastic to coach, I didn’t want to leave then. The Broncos showed a lot of interest in me and regardless of what was said I hadn’t signed anything.
“I hadn’t spoke to them at all. I knew they were interested but I had no contract offer or nothing. I started to get interest when they started talking the length of the contract because it wasn’t just about me, it was about the kids, looking after my parents, it was a bigger thing.
“They offered me a six-year deal with the sixth year in my favour. Souths offered me a three-year deal. Now, I didn’t want to go.
“The hardest conversation I’ve had in my life was calling (Rabbitohs owner) Russell (Crowe) when he was in New York and saying I had to go. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to set up my family.”
Seibold's stint at the Broncos proved ill-fated of course, with the coach shown the door midway through last season, despite having more than three years left on his contract.
The Broncos ended up finishing last and clinching the first wooden spoon in the proud club's history.
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