To be clear, I don’t know Anthony Seibold. But like most sports lovers my age from Central Queensland, I’ve known who he is for more than 30 years.
So I’ve got a natural sympathy and empathy for the fallen Broncos coach that goes far beyond the club’s Red Hill headquarters.
For context, Seibold was a junior sporting star. Actually, “star” might even undersell it.
I’m sure you can picture it. You know, the kid your age who was just better than everyone else. The kid everyone knew about. The kid everyone else put on a pedestal. That was Anthony Seibold.
It started back in the late 80’s. Anthony was from nearby Rockhampton. Just over an hour up the road from Gladstone – where I grew up in Central Queensland.
They were our traditional representative rivals. The big brother if you like.
And on the cricket field, it was the grudge match every year.
I was a year or age group younger than Anthony. A pure cricket nuffy, I knew who was who and certainly didn’t miss the top guns.
Games would be played on adjacent fields. And from my spot in the outfield, or batting in the middle or even from the sideline watching my teammates, if Anthony Seibold had the ball in his hand on the next oval, you paid attention.
He could bowl. Really well. But most of all, really fast. Rapid in fact. Legend had it, he was the quickest for his age in the state. Identified early as a potential Shield player. I reckon that’s more fact than fiction.
He was bigger than most. A burly kid, probably not that much smaller than he is now to be fair, who put the frights up early teens with the shiny new red rock.
When you’re a kid, awe does take you over sometimes. I have vivid memories of that. Word would get around. From slip to gully to cover to mid-off. “Hey Seibold’s on”.
From inter-city matches, regional teams would get chosen to play at the state carnivals. There would be training camps. Bus trips. That Seibold kid would be there. The alpha male among the group. The coolest haircuts. The best stories. He was popping his collar before anyone else.
So yeah. We knew who Anthony Seibold was.
A couple of years later, I remember our first XIII rugby league team playing an annual game against one of the sister schools from Rockhampton. All the students would go and sit on the oval to cheer on our boys.
This day, one kid was dominating. He was hitting it up with an almighty head of steam and terrorising our defence. Then I realised who it was. Anthony bloody Seibold. Shit. He’s good at footy too.
And that’s how his name started to be heard more and more in the years that followed. Through rugby league. Every so often I’d hear him referenced. His time with the Raiders. Playing in the English SuperLeague. Then assistant coaching at the Melbourne Storm and with the Queensland Origin team.
Despite my career in the sports media, our paths never crossed.
But I was delighted for him when he enjoyed significant success as a rookie coach with Souths and then happy when he was handed the keys to my club – the Brisbane Broncos.
It’s been a rough road. Sure, things haven’t gone to plan. He’s had better years.
But the Anthony Seibold that dominated in the world I grew up in didn’t single-handedly create the Broncos’ woes.
I don’t know enough about what goes on at the club or within Anthony’s world to even form an opinion on how his methods have contributed to their current dilemma.
But I remember a winner. Someone others looked up to. Someone respected and admired.
I reckon with his pedigree he’s more than capable of restoring any reputational damage incurred.
Let’s hope he’s afforded that chance.