Seibold wants to burn Broncos’ entitlement
IT HAS been a wonderful summer for all teams in the NRL and most particularly those sporting new coaches.
The Broncos trained strongly all through the hot months and are pumped by the specificity new coach Anthony Seibold has brought to the club. Game speed scenarios, they call it.
The Broncos, going from Wayne Bennett to Seibold, are shifting from art to science.
Further south, where Bennett landed after Brisbane sacked him, the Rabbitohs are enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere under their new old coach. They give the impression lots of laughs are coming out of the warm summer mornings.
After a surprise turnaround last season Wests Tigers are thriving on the further lift in intensity Michael Maguire has brought. Maguire, who has only ever achieved, is giving the Tigers a taste of what finals intensity looks like.
Meanwhile, Ivan Cleary's Penrith players are speaking warmly of Cleary's shift towards game-specific drills for off-season conditioning. The modern way.
"Each coach has their own way of how they want to coach," prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard told AAP Tuesday.
"The pre-seasons that we've had under Hook (Anthony Griffin), probably just the running aspect was shit."
Old players find what they want in new coaches. At least while the going is good.
Manly players are thriving on the work Des Hasler is pouring into them. The same work his former Bulldogs players complained about.
The club with the least transition, Cronulla, is still healing from the summer that saw head coach Shane Flanagan sacked and assistant John Morris slip in smoothly. The Sharks are where they need to be, too.
It all changes in a few weeks, though, under the unforgiving certainty of the win-loss column.
For the coaches, as well.
The more Seibold walked around the Broncos' high performance operation at Red Hill the more a solid realisation set in.
These players want for nothing, he thought. There is no excuse for not performing at their upper best.
And almost immediately he recognised the danger within.
"The facility we're in can breed entitlement," he said.
The Broncos' facility is a musclebound statement of how the club sees itself. Their reputation as the greatest franchise in the NRL has dropped a peg in recent years, overtaken by Melbourne and challenged by Sydney Roosters.
Where once the Broncos were the club all other teams aspired to be, most admirers point to the Storm nowadays.
So the Broncos did what they do so well, which is create their narrative.
It began with their $27 million high performance centre. The facility has it all. Kitchens with staff to prepare breakfast and lunch for players. Rehab facilities, recovery pool, conference rooms, hot and cold baths, a state of the art gym and enough full-time staff to invade Poland. A drone overhead films all field sessions for later review. In all, enough to give Trent Barrett tremendous heartburn.
Yet with it all laid out in front of them it would be easy, Seibold feared, to do just enough to get by. Sometimes, it can come too easy.
The trick was to find a fresh way to reach his players. Something short and easily relatable.
So Seibold reached into that curious brain of his and recalled the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes, who took commitment to new levels.
Sent to conquer the Aztecs in 1519, Cortes dropped anchor on the beaches and then ordered his 11 captains to burn their 11 boats.
With a spark, Cortez removed the option of failure. It had the consequence of sharpening their focus.
It's a metaphor for commitment. For getting the job done.
And with that they set off.
The big change for Brisbane has been the lift in tempo at training.
Seibold is always looking to train above game speed tempo.
"A lot of our training is exposing them to above game speed scenarios," he said.
"We train fast. There's minimal coaching.
"Our devil in the detail, if you want to call it that, is us going back and doing the review."
The Broncos went 13 against 13 on Tuesday. Seibold set a clock beside the field to simulate game situations.
Afterwards he headed back to his office to watch video of the session. He is in only his second year in coaching but already he is shaping as a man ready to spend the rest of his career at the Broncos.
And a man with the nous to know what is necessary to get back to where the Broncos see themselves.
The physical changes around the building have been kept to a minimum.
High above the Broncos' gym is a picture of ships burning at sea with "Burn the Boats" looming large.