Hard act to follow: Seibold’s top five challenges
ANTHONY Seibold faces one of the toughest jobs in Australian sport as he officially takes the Broncos hot seat and spearheads a daunting life after Wayne Bennett.
Replacing Bennett is rugby league's equivalent to batting after Bradman but his task is amplified by the explosive machinations that have led to Bennett's demise and Seibold's rise to power at Red Hill.
The Broncos are a political hotbed and these are five challenges Seibold must address next season to return Brisbane to their premiership-winning glory days.
1. WIN OVER THE QUEENSLAND PEOPLE
There was never any middle ground with Bennett.
Yes he had his haters but for every critic, there were twice as many Queenslanders who worshipped the man who put the Broncos on the map with their maiden premiership in 1992.
By comparison, Seibold is a Neville Nobody.
While he is a proud Rockhampton boy, Seibold is not widely known to Queenslanders and could walk down Queen Street Mall without attracting many second glances.
As the state's flagship sporting team, the Broncos are constantly under the microscope and their coach must be as much an ambassador for the Queensland people as a tactician.
Seibold's job at the Broncos will be infinitely easier if he strikes a chord with the common man - Brisbane's army of fans.
2. GET A HALFBACK
THE Broncos will not break the longest title drought in their history, now spanning 12 years, until they find a champion playmaker.
Allan Langer was Brisbane's halfback during their golden years and while the much-maligned Shane Perry was the No.7 in their most recent premiership in 2006, he had a pretty handy halves partner in Darren Lockyer.
Kodi Nikorima has shown some nice touches at halfback but the jury remains out on whether he can enter the same playmaking stratosphere as the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.
If Nikorima struggles to become a dominant shot-caller this year, Seibold must raid the player market or unearth a young gun within to find Brisbane's next great halfback.
3. IGNITE THE MILF
ANTHONY Milford is the only $1 million player in Brisbane's history.
Seibold has to take Milford to a level where he is so consistently dominant he becomes a contender for the Dally M Medal.
At age 24, Milford has played 143 first-grade games and Seibold inherits the playmaker just as he is about to enter the prime of his NRL career. No one has ever questioned Milford's natural talent, but the Queensland Origin ace has struggled for on-field consistency and there have been queries about his off-field commitment to training.
In his maiden year at Souths in 2018, Seibold extracted the best of Rabbitohs halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds, who combined brilliantly to catapult the rampaging Rabbitohs into the top four.
Walker and Reynolds thrived on Seibold's fresh game plans spearheaded by rapid-fire ball movement, and Milford has the skill set to relish an up-tempo style.
Shy by nature, Milford had a good rapport with Bennett and Seibold must find a way to tap into his psyche.
4. PLUG THE HOLES
SEIBOLD was lauded for the attacking enterprise he brought to Souths last season but he needs to sort out Brisbane's defence, and pronto.
The Broncos had the worst defence of the top-eight teams in 2018, leaking a whopping 500 points at almost 21 points per game.
Most premiership sides concede between 12 and 16 points per game.
Factor in Brisbane conceding a woeful 48 points in their season-ending semi-final debacle against the visiting Dragons and it's clear the Broncos need to find a harder edge without the ball to be a legitimate title contender.
5. HEALING OLD-BOY WOUNDS
SEIBOLD desperately needs the support of Brisbane's club legends to ensure a harmonious beginning.
Several greats such as Chris Johns, Glenn Lazarus and Gorden Tallis are filthy over the interview process for Bennett's successor, labelling it a "sham" and believe favourite son Kevin Walters was treated with disrespect.
The last thing the relatively inexperienced Seibold needs is a posse of big-name Broncos greats firing bullets from a distance and destabilising the club as he tries to deliver Brisbane's seventh premiership.
Seibold knows many of Brisbane's past stars as a member of the club's lower-grades in the early 1990s. He must reach out to the Broncos' Old Boys immediately to secure the backing of the men who spilt blood for the club.
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