Broncos owner backtracks on Seibold ‘cancer’ sledge
The Broncos' major private shareholder, Phil Murphy, has set the record straight on claims he called sacked coach Anthony Seibold a "cancer" on the club.
Seibold was so furious with the comment he contacted Murphy and claims the Broncos shareholder hung up on him as the coach sought an explanation for the spray.
Contacted by Sport Confidential, Murphy said he wasn't specifically referring to Seibold.
"I'd like to clarify some comments attributed to me," he said.
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"I told one media outlet that in any organisation if there's a cancer, you cut it out.
"I stand by those comments.
"However, I'd like to stress those comments were not aimed specifically at Anthony Seibold but as a metaphor for what should happen if the culture at any club isn't right.
"I know he did his best but Anthony was not the man for the job and I support the decision to see him go.
"I am extremely passionate about the Broncos and I cannot express how gutted and shattered I am about how this year has gone."
BRONCOS CLEANOUT ON THE CARDS
Anthony Seibold became the first domino to fall in what is shaping up to be a significant clean-out at the Brisbane Broncos.
Seibold's 20-month tenure at the Broncos came to an end on Wednesday when he severed ties with the club with three years remaining on his contract.
And he won't be the last Broncos employee to be made accountable for the club's slide to 15th on the NRL ladder this year.
While CEO Paul White will walk away in October, after outlining his intention to resign a year ago, more Broncos staff and players are expected to be shown the door.
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Head of football Peter Nolan is one of those fighting for his job after Brisbane's roster was brutally exposed this season.
Nolan was the Broncos' recruitment chief under ex-coach Wayne Bennett before being promoted following Seibold's arrival in late 2018.
Influential Broncos figures have privately blamed Nolan for the unsuccessful signing of Jack Bird on close to $1 million-a-season, although injuries have prevented him from getting a chance to shine on the field.
Seibold's coaching and football staff will also be nervous given new head coaches usually overhaul the entire football department.
BOYD BLASTED BY TINKLER
As he enters his final month in the NRL, retiring Broncos veteran Darius Boyd has revealed how former Newcastle Knights owner Nathan Tinkler delivered the most savage attack of his NRL career.
In his soon-to-be released book Battling the Blues, Boyd recalls the moment fallen business tycoon Tinkler went berserk, threatening to get physical in a frenzied voice message that showed his dark side.
Boyd did not attend Newcastle's season launch for the 2014 campaign after then Knights coach Wayne Bennett gave him permission - without the knowledge of Tinkler - to attend a friend's wedding in New Zealand.
But his no-show was noticed by local media and triggered question marks over his commitment to the Knights, prompting Tinkler to pick up the phone and give Boyd a withering roasting.
"He rang my mobile phone while I was in New Zealand and left a message that could have melted the phone," Boyd writes.
"The message included the following words: 'Who do you think you are? How dare you not come tonight. You are supposed to be here. I will crush you. You are nothing'.
"On it went. It was the best spray I ever copped.
"But the next time I saw him, it was like nothing had happened. The man who promised to crush me greeted me as a friend. That was life with Nathan Tinkler as a football club owner."
HOLBROOK'S CONTRACT CLAUSES
The Gold Coast Titans raised eyebrows across the NRL this week when they signed rookie coach Justin Holbrook for a further four years.
There is no doubt the Titans have improved this year since Holbrook took over from Garth Brennan and Gold Coast players rave about his coaching style and character.
But the reality is they are sitting 13th on the ladder with four wins from 15 games, can't make the finals and are still a chance of collecting back-to-back wooden spoons.
The Titans have seen enough in Holbrook to extend his initial two-year term to a remarkable five years, taking him through until the end of 2024.
It is a huge investment in Holbrook, given he wasn't off-contract until the end of the 2021 season.
But the Titans have safeguarded themselves to a degree by including performance clauses in the contract, ensuring Holbrook will have to produce results to see out the term.
Holbrook has enjoyed a honeymoon period this year after inheriting a rabble, but he has made some big changes.
Holbrook has farewelled Leilani Latu, Kallum Watkins, Shannon Boyd and Bryce Cartwright and will next season welcome big-dollar signings David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
He will be expected to have the Titans in finals contention with a team that is nearly entirely his.
STORM TO LEAVE SUNSHINE COAST
The Melbourne Storm will farewell Sunshine Coast Stadium for the NRL finals.
The Storm have enjoyed great support on the Sunshine Coast since leaving Melbourne two months ago to set up camp at Twin Waters.
They have had so many fans at games that concerns were raised about social distancing not being observed, prompting capacity to be cut.
While the Storm will continue to live at Twin Waters, they will shift home game venues to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane for the finals.
Suncorp is the preferred finals venue for the NRL and can house a much bigger crowd if COVID protocols don't change.
The Storm have also had success at the venue and enjoy playing there.
COWBOYS NOT HOOKED ON COACH
The Cowboys will finalise their new coach next week but one man who is not in the mix is former Broncos mentor Anthony Griffin.
Sports Confidential understands there are four men left in the race to replace Paul Green - Todd Payten, John Cartwright, Englishman Shaun Wane and current interim coach Josh Hannay.
A specially-convened North Queensland committee will hold a second round of interviews in the coming days with a view to unveiling Green's successor next week.
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It is understood Cartwright is the favourite to resurrect his head-coaching career with the Cowboys knowing the Titans foundation mentor well after he worked as an assistant to Green in their premiership year in 2015.
Wane, the England Test coach, is considered an outside hope. Hannay has impressed the Cowboys since taking over from Green, but Payten is believed to be the major threat to Cartwright.
PROCTOR EYES BRISBANE MOVE
Titans skipper Kevin Proctor has been offered to the Brisbane Broncos as the off-contract veteran looks to continue his career in the NRL.
Proctor, who is currently serving a four-match suspension for biting Shaun Johnson, will decide his future in the next fortnight with the 31-year-old attracting interest from Newcastle, the Warriors and Dragons.
But Brisbane could be a surprise left-field option for Proctor with his management contacting the Broncos to offer his services.
Proctor's best years are behind him but his 250 games of NRL service would bring valuable experience to a Broncos pack littered with young guns such as Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan, Jordan Riki, Jake Turpin, Cory Paix and Tom Flegler.
At the right price, he could help bolster Brisbane's forward stocks following the loss of star back-rower David Fifita to the Titans.
FOOTY FIGURES AT THE FIGHTS
It's not a boxing event in Australia without NRL celebrities in attendance.
A number of rugby league identities were on hand at Wednesday night's Jeff Horn-Tim Tszyu blockbuster including Queensland Origin legends Petero Civoniceva, Justin Hodges, Matt Bowen and Gorden Tallis.
Recently sacked Cowboys coach Paul Green was also an interested observer. Green has been laying low since his departure from the Cowboys and is enjoying time out of the pressure-cooker world of NRL coaching.
THE MAN WANTS PRETTY BOY
Anthony 'The Man' Mundine is poised to make a comeback to the ring at age 45.
Michael Zerafa, who hasn't fought since his loss to Jeff Horn in December, is eyeing a comeback of his own against Mundine with the pair slated to square off in Bendigo on November 14.
Mundine was expected to walk into the sunset after his loss to "John" Wayne Parr last November but he is keen for his 59th professional fight against the 'Pretty Boy'.
"I want a legacy fight like Mundine," Zerafa said. "Everyone is saying he is old and yes he is past his use by date but if he passes his medicals and he wants to make a comeback, then I am happy to give him that chance.
"He has called me out and said he can knock me out. Many have tried and failed, so this is his opportunity. If the fight goes ahead, I believe I will stop him early, but Mundine has done a lot of things in the sport."
Originally published as Broncos owner backtracks on Seibold 'cancer' sledge