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Broncos may have let go the wrong quietly spoken old man

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Expert
4th July, 2019
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Such is the furore engulfing the once-indomitable Brisbane Broncos, former greats are being slave-driven to deliver a rate of Courier Mail rent-a-blasts not seen since Petero Civoniceva was replaced with Joel Clinton.

This has seen record numbers of comparisons to ‘my day’ from regulars, including Michael Hancock, Glenn Lazarus and a litany of other greats who continue to front up, which is basically everyone except Andrew Gee.

It’s one of many sad affairs for the Broncos in 2019, a season which has exposed its indulged fan-base to a side of sport not seen in northern climes since the Brisbane Bears in the 1980s or the Gold Coast six times since this goes to print.

The Red Hill powerhouse has seen it all – crisis meetings, pizza nights, honesty sessions and an administration so desperate it enquired on the availability of Israel Folau simply to lift the club’s PR.

Brisbane Broncos fans.

(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

But why is today’s current crop of players unable to meet the standards of the golden era, where players would selflessly give their all for nothing more than the honour of a massive pay packet?

Is it a board issue? A cultural glitch? Or can we blame a long-term recruitment curse that has failed to unearth a halfback capable of filling the massive void left by one-time playmaking immortal Shane Perry?

Thus far experts have whittled the factors for the Broncos’ demise down to three, a number which was then reduced to two with the departure of Kodi Nikorima.

This naturally leaves the question: does Brisbane suck because of new coach Anthony Seibold? Or because of the rapidly decaying and once-unsociable Darius Boyd?

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By prematurely releasing Wayne Bennett for the new guy, has the club cut adrift the wrong surly old man?

Wayne Bennett

(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

As evidenced by his leap to catch an overcooked kick-off on the dead ball line before returning a negative result in a post-match drug test, Boyd may not have been unlucky to miss Origin selection this year.

There is no doubt he has struggled without the support of former coach Bennett, who as Boyd’s father figure and an adversary of Seibold should make for an awkward parent-teacher night when it occurs.

His forgettable meme-filled gap year reached a crescendo on Saturday night when in addition to his memorable kick-off reception he acted as an honorary policeman to Jesse Ramien by taking his full hand of fingerprints – to the face.

Such is his massive demise in form, Boyd has now reached the point where Broncos fans are praying he will be respectfully ushered out of the club with a dignified threat of reggies.

Nevertheless, despite his performances, fans are hopeful the captain’s departure would be treated with the same adoration afforded to Greg Inglis – that being a huge payout exempt from the cap.

On the other hand, you can mount a defence against the absurd notion that Boyd has single-handedly unravelled 30 years of sparkling heritage at Brisbane. All it takes is to point the finger at Seibold.

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Anthony Seibold

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The new coach was lured by Broncos powerbrokers as the man to add glint to a roster that was ready to shine. But like a cheap dishwasher tablet, he has failed to explode and is also kinda sour.

The former Souths coach began by forcing his data-based approach on the playing group, a method of fractions and formulas which has gambling agencies believing he could genuinely return a drawn result in a 14.5 line market.

His dictatorial methods have permeated the entire club from football operations to list management, with the mentor applying a rigid single-minded approach to everything except dropping Boyd.

Unfortunately, Seibold’s iron fist ways have resulted in an awkward clash of styles, with his painstakingly patient clinicalism grating against the club’s DNA of needing two premierships before Corey Parker retired.

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This has resulted in a season of scant enjoyment at Red Hill, with the showreel limited to standout moments such as Tevita Pangai Junior’s barnstormer three months ago and one other season highlight, which is that it will be over soon.

But while Seibold has seemingly tarnished a strong brand by running the football operation into the dirt and beyond, it must be underlined that he has established a fruitful new working partnership by establishing the Broncos as a feeder club to Souths.

So besides the playing personnel, not all is lost.

Can the rookie mastermind turn his tenure around? Can he rekindle Boyd’s love of the game with positional shifts and soapy balls? Or is this club destined to be forever controlled by the original surly old bloke?