How a pig on a spit helped mend divide in Manly’s playing group

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EaglesDontTweet

Bencher
Premium Member
SMH - Adam Pengilly - March 3, 2023 — 7.45pm

The NRL pre-season is prime time for tall stories, but have you heard the one about the time they wheeled a pig on a spit into Bob Fulton’s grandstand?

On a balmy summer night, the Sea Eagles organised a barbecue for some 200 guests including players, staff and their families, with the hog roast the centrepiece amid an array of food stations representing different cuisines and cultures.

In front of the group stood Manly’s new coach: Anthony Seibold. He didn’t want, or need, to say much.
Here was a club in desperate need of healing, and he knew the small gesture of the spit would mean more to his Pacific Islander players, who stood down from a game last year over the club’s rainbow jersey, than any words.

“We all just mixed,” says Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov.
A few months beforehand, there was no chance a get-together like this would have happened at Manly.

Nothing is ever straightforward on the northern beaches, least of all their new coach’s return to the NRL in November after Des Hasler’s sudden sacking.

Seibold left his last club after overseeing a stunning freefall on the field. He left the Broncos in just the second season of a potential six-year deal as the club hurtled towards its first wooden spoon in the COVID-wrecked 2020 season.

Naturally, his next NRL coaching job is at another club trying to move past an era of factionalism and in-fighting.
On Saturday, Seibold will start his second coming as an NRL head coach trying to unite the perennially divided Sea Eagles against another new boss, Cameron Ciraldo and his Bulldogs.
Forget Anthony Griffin and the Dragons, Nicho Hynes and the Sharks, Latrell Mitchell, Joseph Suaalii, Penrith’s three-peat and Craig Bellamy’s probable last dance, the Seibold story is as captivating as any this year.
The early signs have been good. Despite not joining pre-season training until several weeks after his players returned due to his commitment with English rugby union, the Sea Eagles won the NRL’s inaugural pre-season challenge and the $100,000 bonus that came with it.

More importantly, his players looked happy.
“We wanted a coach who can connect with the playing group, but not only do that but be prepared to bring in whomever it takes to get the job done,” Manly owner and chairman Scott Penn says.

Full story:
 

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Here is the full story

The NRL pre-season is prime time for tall stories, but have you heard the one about the time they wheeled a pig on a spit into Bob Fulton’s grandstand?

On a balmy summer night, the Sea Eagles organised a barbecue for some 200 guests including players, staff and their families, with the hog roast the centrepiece amid an array of food stations representing different cuisines and cultures.

In front of the group stood Manly’s new coach: Anthony Seibold. He didn’t want, or need, to say much.

Here was a club in desperate need of healing, and he knew the small gesture of the spit would mean more to his Pacific Islander players, who stood down from a game last year over the club’s rainbow jersey, than any words.

“We all just mixed,” says Manly chief executive Tony Mestrov.

A few months beforehand, there was no chance a get-together like this would have happened at Manly.

Anthony Seibold in his coaching days at the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Manly Sea Eagles and Brisbane Broncos.
Anthony Seibold in his coaching days at the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Manly Sea Eagles and Brisbane Broncos.

Nothing is ever straightforward on the northern beaches, least of all their new coach’s return to the NRL in November after Des Hasler’s sudden sacking.

Seibold left his last club after overseeing a stunning freefall on the field. He left the Broncos in just the second season of a potential six-year deal as the club hurtled towards its first wooden spoon in the COVID-wrecked 2020 season.

Naturally, his next NRL coaching job is at another club trying to move past an era of factionalism and in-fighting.

On Saturday, Seibold will start his second coming as an NRL head coach trying to unite the perennially divided Sea Eagles against another new boss, Cameron Ciraldo and his Bulldogs.

Forget Anthony Griffin and the Dragons, Nicho Hynes and the Sharks, Latrell Mitchell, Joseph Suaalii, Penrith’s three-peat and Craig Bellamy’s probable last dance, the Seibold story is as captivating as any this year.

The early signs have been good. Despite not joining pre-season training until several weeks after his players returned due to his commitment with English rugby union, the Sea Eagles won the NRL’s inaugural pre-season challenge and the $100,000 bonus that came with it. More importantly, his players looked happy.

“We wanted a coach who can connect with the playing group, but not only do that but be prepared to bring in whomever it takes to get the job done,” Manly owner and chairman Scott Penn says.

“We were looking for a coach who understood what a modern NRL club needs to bring the best out of their playing group.

“We’ve always been a successful club and we need to continue that, but we also need a positive environment that’s inclusive of families and people want to be around.

“I’m not saying it wasn’t there before, but what I do sense though is when we knew we were moving in another direction we needed someone who could bring the best out of our future group.”

When Mestrov couldn’t agree on a succession plan for Hasler with the coach’s agent George Mimis, he looked at the available coaches and kept coming back to one.

He rang players who had played under Seibold. He called his former bosses, including former Rabbitohs supremo Shane Richardson.

“I told [Manly] he was an excellent coach and I wouldn’t be overly concerned about Brisbane,” Richardson says. “I think he just got a bit ahead of himself at the time, but he’s learnt from that experience.”

Then Mestrov sat in Seibold’s house and the coach gave him a warts-and-all account of the Broncos, before Penn picked up the phone to Brisbane chairman Karl Morris.

“Karl is a really good mate of mine,” Penn said. “We’ve been friends for 20 years and it was a simple phone call: ‘We’re looking at Seibs, give us the full story’. He gave us the full picture.

“I spoke to Anthony about it: ‘This is what we’ve heard, tell us about it’. He spoke about all the trials and tribulations, good and bad. He said, ‘That was me and I could have handled it better. I’m absolutely determined to make amends for that’. He doesn’t want to prove anyone wrong, he wants to prove what he’s capable of.

“As soon as we heard that acknowledgement, we knew we were good.”

It’s not as if Seibold’s career has been defined by one disastrous year at the Broncos. Penn and Mestrov prefer to look at the similarities between his first year at South Sydney when he was Dally M coach of the year and his Manly assignment.

In 2018, Seibold took over a side which had struggled the year before under a hard-nosed and experienced coach in Michael Maguire. Maguire had taken the Rabbitohs to a drought-breaking premiership in 2014. Seibold immediately got results and led South Sydney to a preliminary final.

At Manly, they’ve also parted with another highly successful coach in Hasler after a year of under-achievement.

“That wasn’t a fluke [we went down the Seibold path] given the situation we’re in now,” Mestrov says.

“It’s important to have a communicator here. I felt like we lost our way in that respect. We realised here we needed a coach with experience. There’s no use bringing a first-timer into a club like this that demands success. You can see his experience and how he’s hit the ground running.”

But Manly know they haven’t played for points yet.

And when they do, and if they start winning, they’ll remember how a pig on a spit helped build bridges between Seibold’s stars.
 

eagle66

Bencher
Premium Member
Well, Barrett did similar by taking the boyz to the pub. Probably this was more appreciated.
 

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