Brisbane’s decision to cut ties with its six-time premiership-winning GOAT coach in favour of a rookie on a deeply-risky five-year multi-million deal has, incredibly, come back to bite them.
But trust the process, Broncos fans – your shameful Titans-like low will be recalled as the most rewarding string of shameful scorelines and media circuses your club has ever endured.
That’s because it will forever serve as a lesson that your club is only functional under the sovereignty of Wayne Bennett and that you should never hire a mortal to do an 800-game demigod’s job.
In millennial terms, Anthony Seibold is a painfully long software update that is incompatible with the Broncos because the club only operates using Bennett, an old charger Paul White discarded under the belief it no longer fit the upgraded model.
The rookie has come under intense fire for a string of embarrassing results including a 59-0 loss to the Roosters, the worst in the club’s 32-year history after surpassing his 58-0 loss to the Eels and the $300,000 loss by Andrew Gee.
Under his guise, the Broncos have transformed from a team that tackled until the final siren to one that tackled until it was puffed, a club school kids dreamed of captaining to one on the verge of conscription.
Experts have suggested a number of factors for the decline, arguing a lack of playmakers and a long-term cultural slide, whereas Matthew Johns believes it’s more a footy-related thing and they don’t have enough barbecues.
However, the real reason the Broncos are broken under Seibold is this: because nothing nice can happen at Red Hill without Bennett there, and regrettable things occur when he’s not.
You don’t need stats to know this; a Bennett administration meant the bad press was rare, the blue-chip recruits were aplenty and the external jealousy flowed like the salmon of Capistrano.
In fact, the entire city of Brisbane was in a better headspace, creating an environment where players could confidently ball-out on-field and headlock nightclub seccies off it, never with a whiff of censure.
But when he left, terrible things occurred. Ivan Henjak. The disappearance of Anthony Milford. The re-election of Katter’s Australian Party. Jack Bird. Craig Bellamy remaining at Melbourne. All things that never happen if he stays.
With all due respect to Seibold, nobody in Brisbane was ever going to respond to calculus and collegiate theorem. This club needs a coach with two things: the keys to the city and intimate knowledge of life growing up in the 1920s.
Unfortunately, when compared to Bennett’s 20+ years at the club, Seibold’s five-year deal is going to feel like a century.
While the rookie coach’s fast-tracked appointment brought a welcome end to the messy final months of the legend’s last era, his arrival has extinguished the lingering tension and replaced it with unspeakable pain.
Since he has inherited the stagnating deals of Milford, Bird and Darius Boyd, and reasonable questions why he didn’t offer these to Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.
In a bid to appease his oppressors, he offloaded experience in the shape of Andrew McCullough, Kodi Nikorima and Josh McGuire, but all it has stemmed is rubbish on the face and scapegoats.
This saw him forced to appoint Alex Glenn as captain, with the veteran considered the standout candidate after best embodying the club’s culture by being shopped around and having his salary slashed.
Would any of this have occurred on Bennett’s watch? For the purposes of this narrative, I would definitely say no.
So take it from an outsider from Sydney with no idea of the inner workings of the club – Brisbane needs Wayne, and if they’re smart about it, they’ll let him oversee the club on his terms well into his taxidermied 120s.