Anthony Seibold is, to say the least, a decent assistant coach

Amid the gnashing of teeth and fingers pointing at Connor Watson’s announcement that he was leaving Newcastle, it was disappointing but by no means surprising to see Anthony Seibold become a talking point.

In a discussion on LNR 360 About Watson’s departure and what it meant for the club, the fact that the former Broncos coach was made an assistant to the Knights was brought up by the panel.

“I don’t want this to be a bash-up on Seibold, but the criticism of him in Brisbane was that he made all this head noise in the players because he spoke in algebraic terms, it was all formulas and science and the players got fooled by it all, ”Kent said.

“He was brought in to Newcastle, when we were told it was to do a video analysis for O’Brien and he would have no contact with the players which would have avoided the problem that happened to the Broncos .

“Now we know he’s one-on-one with the players… What do you say? “

Probably meant to be a rhetorical question (“Rhetoric, eh? Eight!”) But I say fine.

An Anthony Seibold is exactly what the Knights needed on their coaching staff in 2021 – it just took them half a season to figure it out.

Anthony Seibold (Photo by Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images)

Last December, the Knights announced that Adam O’Brien’s support staff for 2021 would be Willie Peters, Eric Smith and Rory Kostjasyn, a trio that brought precisely no match experience as a coach – head of an NRL club at the table. And in fact, neither Smith nor Kostjasyn had even been top assistants before.

This meant that O’Brien, only in his second year as a freshman mentor, was the only person in the coach setup who understood the stress of a job that requires wearing multiple hats, with Peters the only one. member of his support staff who had even been an assistant at this level.

Compare that to the year before, when O’Brien had a player and coach winning over 100 freshman games – as well as an assistant to Paul Green in the Cowboys’ top-seed race in 2015 – in David Furner as his right arm. However, Furner returned to Sydney in late 2020 to play a role with the Bulldogs.

While not a rock-solid law, coaching in the NRL tends to be a lot like exorcising a demon – you want a young priest and an old priest.

Wayne Bennett is helped by guys who have never been a full-time freshman before, ditto Trent Robinson and Ivan Cleary. As for Craig Bellamy and Ricky Stuart having Stephen Kearney and Andrew McFadden on their respective teams, this is offset by the presence of Marc Brentnall at the Storm and Brett White at the Raiders as well.

It’s also why eyebrows were raised last September when the Dragons announced that Anthony Griffin, 54, would be assisted in 2021 by fellow 50-year-olds Peter Gentle and Matthew Elliott.

Just like your squad of players, you want your coaching staff to have a mix of youth and experience, and in the middle of this season, the latter’s lack of the Knights in this department was delayed as one of the reasons why the team was in trouble. on the park.

After a 40-4 flogging at the hands of Parramatta in the 13th round, it was reported that club CEO Phil Gardner has decided to support his coach a bit more.

However, Gardner’s suggestion of having Prime Minister Shane Flanagan’s winning coach was reportedly flatly rejected by O’Brien.

It was also around this time – about a fortnight earlier, according to the Newcastle Herald – that Seibold’s role had changed from that of adviser to “a more practical coaching role”.

Now, it’s not impossible that O’Brien managed to assert that he didn’t need Flanagan to hold his hand as he was already gripping Seibold’s fingers – Gardner just needed to give them a little more. time to both.

Because what is often lost in any discussion of Seibold is that before 2020 he had largely succeeded as a coach.

In his only season at the helm of the Souths he led the Bunnies to a Grand Final game and was named Dally M Coach of the Year, while his first year with the Broncos also saw Brisbane play the finals. football.

Clearly 2020 has been a historically bad year in the Queensland capital and it cost Seibold his job – and rightly so – but the rot at the Broncos has gone far beyond the coach, as evidenced by their continuous rotation of front office staff. Looking back, the club which awarded a six-year contract to a rookie manager was probably one of the first signs that they were heading down a wrong path.

Kalyn Ponga walks away from Tom Dearden of the Cowboys.

(Photo by Ashley Feder / Getty Images)

Seibold also brings a wealth of knowledge as a second in command, having been an assistant to The Storm (where he first befriended O’Brien), Manly and Souths as well as for the Queensland Origin side.

All of this to say that when the Knights needed a little experience to right the ship for 2021, bringing in Seibold was far from the worst option.

While only a few years older than O’Brien, Seibold is a seasoned activist who may only have a few more matches of experience in the hottest seats, but having led clubs. A top performer in the Bunnies and Broncos, he understands the stress and strain of being a first-year coach better than most.

As for him, bamboozling the players with his “formulas and his science” – like a nerd – Seibold was educated long before he became a coach and his academic approach didn’t seem to be a problem until this abysmal season in Brisbane.

But while it may have caused problems for the Broncos, chances are it will be an advantage for the Knights, because you don’t just want your coaching staff to be a mix of young and old, you want that they have a little variety in Other Aspects.

Although I did not attend a speech by O’Brien on match day, I have listened to enough of his press conferences to form the opinion that he is the type to eat meat and vegetables. potatoes. Maybe the players really like that someone brings a little more of an academic perspective to their football – whether that’s because it’s something different than what they usually hear or because it’s theirs too. way of thinking about gambling.

Granted, it’s just me spitting – but then that’s what Kent was doing too – so let’s analyze Seibold’s actual work in O’Brien’s setup.

Knights fans

(Photo by Ashley Feder / Getty Images)

According to the above Herald article, “O’Brien gave the controversial former Brisbane Broncos coach the reins to oversee the Knights’ defense, with the head coach now playing a much more active role in his team’s attack.”

Now, if the Novocastrians have a major problem, it is that despite weapons like Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best, they are struggling to score points.

But you are seriously hanging on to the straws if you try to attribute this problem to the defensive coach.

So how did he do in his role?

Well, before Seibold took on the task of tightening the Knights’ D, the team had allowed 256 points at an average of 25.6 points conceded per game. Compare that to a total of 266 points at an average of 22.2 points since his role expanded – an improvement of more than three points per game.

To put that in context, the team’s attack over the same period actually worsened slightly, from 17.9 points per game to 17.7.

So while the Knights injury room has become less crowded over the months, Seibold has been more involved, the only part of the team’s performance that has tended to increase – and notably – is the aspect in which it plays a leading role.

Apparently it was all to no avail, however, with Seibold’s season wearing a red and blue polo shirt ready to be one.

“We’ve been told the Knights will end Seibold’s tenure at the end of this season. Seibold won’t be at Newcastle beyond this season, ”wrote James Hooper last week (I swear the man has never met a point he couldn’t stress).

If that’s correct, then the Knights will need to think hard about their training structure for the 2022 season, because having a veteran on board makes perfect sense.

As for Seibold, this season shows he is at the very least a practical assistant, having helped the Knights drop from 11th to seventh while increasing their winning percentage from 40 to 58%.

He may be just one cog in a bigger machine, but Seibold’s expanded role has seen undeniable improvement that has seen Newcastle take charge of their own destiny ahead of this season’s final.

Obviously, that’s not going to put out the raging inferno that still seems to be burning for him north of the Tweed, but the Knights who advance to the Finals should earn Anthony Seibold a bit of gratitude from the folks at the Hunter. and finally bring out certain sections of the media. his back.


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