Maguire was replaced by Seibold within days of the Souths board sacking him in September 2017. After being named coached of the year in his debut season, Seibold then spurned a lucrative offer to stay at Souths, instead signing a five-year deal with Brisbane.
“Some people can plant stories and snidely suggest certain things about myself,” he continued. “I’ve spoken to Michael Maguire since he was released from the Rabbitohs. He called me on the day of my first game as head coach. I haven’t spoken to him recently, but I hate that a story has been planted by someone who wants to see me hurt.”
Wayne Bennett, the wily mastercoach, has subtly toyed with the young coach’s mind via the media since the pair swapped jobs in December last year. There is no suggestion whatsoever, from Seibold or this column, that Bennett has played dirty pool.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised by the mind games,” Seibold said. “As an assistant coach, all you do is coach. When you become a head coach, you’re like the players’ dad. Last year, for whatever reason, a lot of things seemed to go my way. This year, it’s been more challenging.
“Mind games get played. I’m not paranoid about it. But that’s the toxic part of our game. It doesn’t interest me at all. It works for some people. It’s against my personality to do that. I’m not going to be someone I’m not.”
Seibold isn’t entirely sure where things currently sit with Maguire, whose Tigers meet the Panthers on day two of the Magic Round before the Broncos take on Manly in the second game.
It’s ridiculous to speculate if this has been a success or not after eight games.
There’s every chance the pair will cross paths in the bowels of Suncorp Stadium.
It’s another significant game for Dearden because it’s first before a heaving home crowd.
Seibold tells a nice story about how he phoned the teenager to tell him he’d be playing against Souths.
“Where are you?” Seibold asked.
“Downstairs,” the kid replied.
Dearden was on a day off but about to take a bag of footballs out onto the training paddock to hone his skills on his own.
“He was quite emotional when I told him,” Seibold said. “He was supposed to be playing in an under-18s game at 10.15 on a Sunday morning five weeks ago before he got called into the Queensland Cup side the day of the game. Five weeks later he was playing under the bright lights of last week against Souths. It’s a pretty big and surreal ride.”
Same could be said of the coach.
“The club’s invested in me long-term and I’ve invested in them long-term,” Seibold said. “Success doesn’t come in a straight line. It’s ridiculous to speculate if this has been a success or not after eight games. I’ve got another hundred odd games before the contract finishes and then an option in my favour. The club trusts me to do the job.”
Can magic round pull a GF out of the hat?
I can exclusively reveal people are flooding into Brisneyland for the inaugural Magic Round with gusto. There’s a potpourri of various team colours everywhere you look.
What chance, then, of the NRL bringing a bloody grand final here at some stage?
The NSW government is adamant the big dance must stay in Sydney for the next 25 years after promising to build shiny new stadiums, mostly for the NRL.
But, as we pointed out last week, the NRL is already thinking about taking the game to Brisbane if a reconfigured ANZ Stadium isn’t ready to host the 2021 decider.
Over to you, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg: “We’ve got a MOU with [the NSW] government that has details of the stadium, the designs, the infrastructure, the spend and also the delivery. If there’s a change in that, that changes the MOU. We’re being told by government that we’ve got nothing to worry about because they will deliver what they’ve promised. But every delay you see holds them up so there might be another discussion.”
Mentalist as anything
SPOTTED: NSW coach Brad Fittler locked in conversation with actor Simon Baker at Bankwest Stadium after Parramatta torched the Dragons last Sunday.
The Mentalist meets the Mentalist. Baker is an Eels fan. Freddy is, well, the great Freddy.
Fittler has struggled to speak this week because he lost his voice but there’s plenty rattling around his fertile brain about his side for Origin I in Brisbane on June 5.
He is heeding the advice of his former Penrith and Blues coach Phil Gould to not lock in selections until the last minute because of the fickle nature of injury and form.
A week ago, we would’ve thought incumbents Nathan Cleary and James Maloney had their nose in front to play in the series opener. Now it’s swung towards Cleary and Luke Keary, although we’re hearing Keary’s former Souths teammate, Adam Reynolds, remains firmly in the mix.
Fittler is loving the halves headache he is presently feeling. It wasn’t long ago when the Blues were scratching around for playmakers.
Meanwhile, Blake Ferguson is tipped to make a stunning return to the sky-blue jumper after being blackballed for his pre-Origin beers-and-bets with Josh Dugan before game three in 2017.
This headline on news.com.au on Wednesday morning was pure gold: “Israel Folau found guilty of ‘high level’ breach: Alan Jones explodes”.
Oh, AJ exploded all right. The broadcaster even evoked the spirit of the Anzacs in condemning an independent panel that found the Wallabies star breached Rugby Australia’s code of conduct for his remarks about gays going to hell etc.
The claim was just as gibbery as Anthony Mundine pinning the sanction on racism. Mundine has never been a supporter of the LGBT community, condemning it regularly in recent years, so it was hardly surprising.
The real winners in all of this are the lawyers. We’re told the combined legal bill for both parties for the three-day hearing would be in the vicinity of $350,000.
Joey horsing around
I once owned a small percentage in a racehorse and it cost me so much that I nearly had to eat the horse to survive. That’s how slow the poor thing was.
I’m kidding, of course. Rugby league legend Andrew Johns has been gifted a five percent share in a horse he’s never seen.
It was given to him by an owner who has called his horse Eighth Immortal, which Johns became in 2012.
The horse, trained by Tim Martin, was scratched from the first at Scone on Friday but has been entered in a race at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
“The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one … Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur.” — I’ve seen political correctness blamed for many things, but US President Donald Trump using it to explain why Maximum Security was disqualified for causing interference is a first.
If you can keep it together while watching the vision of Collingwood players chairing six-year-old fan Kyron McGuire from the field after their win against Port Adelaide, before singing the team song, then you are a stronger person than me. He has been given six to 12 months to live because of brain cancer.
Broncos centre James Roberts has reportedly thrown his toys out of the cot after being dropped to Queensland Cup. He’s hardly made it a secret to those close to him that he wants out of Brisbane and doesn’t get on with coach Anthony Seibold. Footballers on $500,000 a season not having a crack. Awesome.
It’s a big weekend for …
Manchester City and Liverpool as the English Premier League goes down to the final day of the season. City only need to beat Brighton to win the trophy for the second year running.
It’s an even bigger weekend for …
Sydney FC as they prepare to meet arch-rivals Melbourne Victory in the A-League semi-final at Jubilee Oval. Yes, the A-League is apparently still going. Pressure’s on FFA to get it going again.
Andrew Webster travelled to Brisbane courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing.
Andrew Webster is Chief Sports Writer of The Sydney Morning Herald.