Galling hypocrisy in weak Broncos' ‘cop-out’
The Broncos have been accused of trying to deflect the blame after a disastrous restart to the NRL season.
Brisbane suffered its worst-ever loss in a 59-0 thrashing against the Roosters last Thursday night, the week after being hammered 34-6 by the Eels.
Coach Anthony Seibold pointed to his side's inexperience as a contributing factor to its horror show against the reigning premiers, but it's an excuse that won't wash with everyone.
Brisbane had 10 players with less than 30 first-grade games under their belt on Thursday but some NRL pundits are adamant the club has only itself to blame after mismanaging its roster and discarding senior players.
Daily Telegraph rugby league writer Paul Kent said an emphasis on loading up on young guns such as Payne Haas, Tevita Pangai Junior and David Fifita to bolster what should be the league's best forward pack has meant the Broncos jettisoned experienced stars - the same experienced stars Seibold is lamenting he can't turn to in 2020.
As Kent pointed out on NRL 360 on Monday night, in recent years the Broncos have lost:
- Queensland and Australian forward Josh McGuire (194 games for the Broncos) to the Cowboys in 2019.
- Queensland hooker Andrew McCullough (260 games for the Broncos) to Newcastle this season.
- New Zealand halfback Kodi Nikorima (86 games for the Broncos) to the Warriors in 2019.
- NSW centre James Roberts (81 games for the Broncos, nearly 150 games in the NRL) to the Rabbitohs last year.
"The fact is because they have invested so heavily in the Fifitas and the Pangais and Haas and Matt Lodge and all these young players to bulk up the middle, they let go Josh McGuire after 194 games at the club, released early," Kent said.
"Andrew McCullough, 260 games at the club, released early. James Roberts … released early. Kodi Nikorima, 86 games … released early.
"Whose fault's that? Seibold let them go. He's collectively just let hundreds of games go of experience out of the club and he's complaining they don't have enough experience.
"They're clearing up space to sign all these gun players, the young kids coming through, their roster's getting out of shape."
Fox Sports chief rugby league reporter James Hooper said blaming the poor results on inexperience was a "weak cop-out".
"There's no other way to describe it," he added.
Former Bronco and Queensland Origin star Ben Ikin also savaged the Broncos for their poor roster management.
"There is absolutely no excuse ever … to have a rebuilding year in Brisbane," he said on NRL 360. "This current list has happened through design.
"How do you reconcile a football department that's claiming all this inexperience that is only there because the experience has been traded out?
"The place is a confused mess.
"Unless they can get someone into the organisation that knows what a premiership list looks like, what a premiership environment looks like, then they are going to continue to dig a bigger and bigger hole.
"It shouldn't happen that way but at the moment this list is out of balance.
"Until they get their list management to where it needs to be, the Broncos will continue to lose matches."
Seibold took charge of the Broncos in 2019 after impressing in his first year as an NRL coach with Souths, guiding them to a third-placed finish in 2018 as the Bunnies got within one win of the grand final.
But his move north hasn't gone to plan. Brisbane scraped into the finals last year before being trounced 58-0 by Parramatta, and now questions are being asked after two awful performances to restart the season following the break caused by COVID-19.
"The big problem for the Broncos is this: Every time a little bit of flame gets put to Anthony Seibold's belly he won't cop it, he makes an excuse," Kent said.
"He's not handling the pressure at all.
"He came into this game on the weekend already armed with his excuse, so when everyone says, 'How come you got flogged by the Roosters?' (he says) 'Look how many games they've played and look how much experience they have compared to us'.
"He did that last year a couple of times. He got under pressure, he basically threw off, 'Not me, the problem's over there'."
Originally published as Galling hypocrisy in weak NRL 'cop out'