Anthony Seibold has expressed his anger over what he sees as a lack of support from the NRL during his week from hell.
The Broncos coach, who is currently self-isolating in his Brisbane home after leaving the NRL bubble to deal with a family matter, has been targeted with vile rumours that saw him engage a law firm to protect him from the damaging claims.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Seibold revealed his dismay at the radio silence from league headquarters in recent days.
“I feel angry,” Seibold said. “I thought someone could have reached out.
“Even just a phone call to check in. It’s been bloody hard.
“As a game, are we going to just accept it?”
“I’d hate any other coach or player to go through what I have this last week,” he added.
“At some point, as a game, we need to take a stand.”
Former NRL player Darcy Lussick called for the attacks to stop.
“Anthony Seibold is a coach but behind that he’s a human being with a wife and family,” Lussick tweeted. “When I was with him you wouldn’t find a harder worker everyday trying to improve himself and his players. Really hope the faceless people ease up because nobody deserves that.”
Daily Telegraph rugby league reporter Phil Rothfield said someone from the NRL should have reached out to Seibold.
“I’m not defending Anthony Seibold, his coaching or the results of his football team … but what happened on social media over the last couple of weeks has been totally unacceptable,” Rothfield said on the Big Sports Breakfast.
“I’m concerned for his mental health and wellbeing.
“I think someone at the NRL could have picked the telephone up and rung him and said, ‘Are you OK?’
“He hasn’t had a single phone call and he’s quite angry about it.
“With people like Anthony Seibold locked up in isolation with his wife and kids and all this disgusting stuff that’s being said about them, I think they (the NRL) are entitled to contact them.”
Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, who co-hosts the Big Sports Breakfast, said people spreading malicious rumours on social media are “weak as p***”.
Fox League NRL reporter James Hooper said Seibold had a right to voice his feelings of abandonment.
“You don’t like to see anybody go through what Anthony Seibold has gone through in relation to these social media attacks, these false allegations and the blowtorch he’s had turned on him personally,” Hooper told Big League Wrap.
“You wouldn’t wish that upon your worst enemy. I can understand why he might have wanted someone to pick up the telephone up.”
SEIBOLD: ‘DISGUSTING’ FAMILY IS INVOLVED
The Broncos have lost 10 of their past 11 games and endured several poor off-field dramas and Seibold is happy to cop criticism over his coaching.
But he says it’s completely unfair for his family to be dragged into the mess.
“I understand I’m in a high-profile position at a high profile club. But this is my family and other people mentioned in those disgusting and false messages,” Seibold said.
“They don’t ask to be in the spotlight.
“Say whatever you want about my coaching and the team’s performances but to make up lies and all that abuse … it’s sickening and I’m not going to cop it.
“Will it drive me out of the game? I need to think about that at a later time.
“Social media has gone to a level that is no longer acceptable.
“There’s a big difference between having an opinion and supporting your team but when it’s so distressing, so hurtful and so defamatory that’s crossed the line. That’s why I’ve gone to the police.”
Seibold said it was up to the Broncos board to decide if he was the long-term answer as coach but he wouldn’t be walking away.
An NRL spokesman told The Daily Telegraph a member of their wellbeing department contacted Brisbane about the Seibold rumours but didn’t get in touch with the coach.