Nowhere to hide for new king of Red Hill
NRL coaches live and die by the pursuit of premierships, but for Broncos mentor Anthony Seibold, another 'P' word will be equally important this season.
Brisbane hierarchy's decision to hand Seibold a five-year deal is an extraordinary show of faith in an age where rugby league contracts are broken as swiftly and explosively as partnerships on Married At First Sight.
The duration of Seibold's deal is evidence Brisbane are prepared to be patient with him, but whether Broncos fans and the media will allow the reigning coach of the year time to fit snugly into Wayne Bennett's throne at Red Hill is debatable.
There was a time in rugby league when coaches were permitted to construct long-term blueprints and implement recruitment and development systems with a view to winning a premiership in three, four or five years.
The high-octane world of the NRL is now a microcosm of our fast-food society happily gorging on social-media banquets. Forget patience. Instant gratification is king. We want everything now. There is no tomorrow. And for a club like the Broncos, mired in the longest premiership drought in their history, now spanning 13 years, a seventh premiership can't come soon enough.
Which brings us to Thursday night, when Seibold begins his fascinating and potentially formidable journey as Broncos coach in Brisbane's clash with his former club, Melbourne, at AAMI Park.
Every rugby league eyeball will be on Seibold: how his Broncos play and whether his Broncos win, including the eyes of Craig Bellamy, the Storm super coach whose decision to reject Brisbane in contract talks last year gloriously opened the door for his former assistant.
Of course, Brisbane's 2019 season will not be defined by 80 minutes at AAMI Park.
But such was the personal pain and professional politicking in the demise of Bennett at Red Hill last season, the Broncos will be sweating on the public-relations pressure valve of Seibold firing this year and meeting Brisbane's stated objective of a top-four finish.
Anything less - say a seventh placing, or, heaven forbid, Brisbane missing the finals - and the Broncos' methodology for sacking the club's only premiership coach will be in tatters.
"There is no honeymoon for Anthony Seibold, nowhere for him to hide this season," says Queensland Origin legend Billy Moore.
"If the Broncos start the season 2-6 (wins and losses), the burners will be on him.
"Seibold would know the expectation on the Broncos is greater than any other club in the comp, including his former club South Sydney.
"But one thing I like about Seibold is his composure. He is impressive. He is so youthful and dynamic I don't believe the pressure will bother him."
South Sydney's superb renaissance last year is proof Seibold can hit the ground running quickly in a new environment, but he has yet to deliver the very thing the Broncos most crave - silverware.
At the Mackay Cutters in 2011-12, Seibold missed the finals in both seasons, winning 18 games for a 42 per cent success rate. The following year, as Melbourne under-20s coach, the Storm NYC side also missed the playoffs, winning 11 of 24 games to finish ninth.
But coaching in the lower tier can be a complex task with many variables. Developing players can be more important than winning titles. At Mackay, Seibold's team-selection decisions hinged on NRL affiliate North Queensland and which contracted stars the Cowboys wanted first.
Now Seibold is the top dog. He gets the chance to deliver success at the Broncos using his knowledge on his terms.
"We are seeing a new wave of coaches coming through and Seibold can be one of the best," Moore said.
"It's a smart move for the Broncos to back Seibold long-term. The best way to stop the speculation is giving a coach time to succeed.
"Seibold is still a long way off being one of the coaching greats, but he has crashed through the door … and now he has to take the Broncos to the promised land."