Video Chat Cock-Up The Last Thing Bunnies Coach Needed At Pointy End Of The Season

Just a day out from a sudden death semi-final against the Dragons, his Rabbitohs are posted across every news outlet in Australia, but for all the wrong reasons.

Anthony Seibold is one of the most sought after coaches in the NRL. He’s been tipped to replace the greatest of all time -- Wayne Bennett -- at the Broncos.

Yet he hasn’t even coached a full season at NRL level. Such is the rap on the former Storm and Maroons assistant.

The next 24 hours will be the biggest test of his coaching career thus far.

Just a day out from a sudden death semi-final against the Dragons, his Rabbitohs are posted across every news outlet in Australia, but for all the wrong reasons after a video chat reportedly turned lewd with South Sydney players exposing their private parts to a young woman.

“Chaos” is the word Seibold used to describe Rabbitohs HQ this morning. And he wasn’t wrong. I’ve been at several news conferences this year at their Redfern base. Never have I seen so many cameras. And never have I seen such an agitated Anthony Seibold.

Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold talks to players during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval on September 5, 2018 in Sydney (Getty)

He obviously couldn’t say much because the club and NRL integrity unit are investigating the situation. Still, the media scrum probed and probed. Seibold remained cool, calm and collected until eventually he cracked.

“I’ve said I’m not going to make any comment. Now if you continue to go down that route I’m going to walk away. I’m not obliged to talk about that. I’m obliged to talk about tomorrow night and that’s what I’ll talk about," he said.

A member from the Rabbitohs media team tried to save Seibold from the barrage of questions. He turned attention to tomorrow’s game, asking how the Bunnies prepare for a Dragons side missing Gareth Widdop and a number of other stars.

Seibold responded hastily, “Well what do you want us to do? Go back and look at Gareth playing? There’s no point having a look at him.”

That was supposed to be the question which brought Seibold some relief. Instead, he snapped. Only slightly, but it was unlike Seibold. He was feeling the heat.

And so begs the question - how does he rally the troops and get them to focus purely on the game tomorrow night? League legend and Sports Tonight Panellist Laurie Daley couldn’t have put it better -- this has the potential to ruin the Bunnies season.

Players and coaches never admit it at the time, but months later they always do -- these sagas are a distraction and they do affect performance. And understandably so.

Performance is just as much mental as physical. You don’t need to be a doctor or scientist to know that.

So whether it’s an inspirational speech to rival that of James Graham or just your old cliches of “keeping things simple” and “focusing on the game plan”, Seibold needs to find a way to get the best out of his troops tomorrow night.

And maybe for another fortnight if they keep winning. Because this is unlikely to be the last we hear about the video chat saga.

For what it’s worth, I like Anthony Seibold. A lot. He’s one of the easiest coaches to deal with. Friendly, open and honest. That’s why it’s such a shame this may ruin a possible fairytale premiership in his debut season.

Then again, it may not. Imagine if the Bunnies won the premiership in the wake of this saga. Seibold would have even more clubs chasing his signature.

So. Make or break? That is the question.