Backstabber: Truth about Seibold’s bitter feud with Madge
Former Souths boss Shane Richardson has opened up on the coaching bust-up between Michael Maguire and Anthony Seibold ahead of Friday night's grudge match between the Broncos and Tigers in Sydney.
"Michael and Anthony didn't part very well," said Richardson, who resigned as Souths CEO in March.
"Maguire blamed Seibold (for his demise as Souths head coach) and felt he was stabbed in the back to get his job.
"There is a bit of animosity between the two of them … and that's where it all came from."
Richardson has provided a detailed account of what really happened at Redfern following allegations Seibold backstabbed Maguire in his ascension to the Souths post, sparking an NRL coaching feud.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Seibold has always maintained his innocence, but Maguire believes his trusted assistant helped orchestrate his sacking at Souths in 2017, setting up a fiery backdrop to the Broncos-Tigers showdown at Leichhardt.
Since their falling out, the pair have squared off just once before.
Maguire's Tigers pulled off a last-minute miracle to beat Brisbane 22-16 last year and now "Madge" is primed to inflict more misery on the struggling Broncos and Seibold, the man he once viewed as a trusted ally.
As former Rabbitohs CEO, Richardson was at the epicentre of Maguire's sacking and Seibold's subsequent appointment and he admits tensions ran high in the aftermath of Souths' coaching transition.
It all started swimmingly. Maguire and Seibold cut their teeth at Melbourne under Craig Bellamy and the bonds of the Storm's 'Old Boy' culture were strong when the former reached out to the latter to help him at Souths in 2016.
Maguire gave Seibold the task of implementing Souths' defensive structures, but after back-to-back 12th-placed finishes, there was a feeling Rabbitohs players were burnt out.
Maguire did a superb job instilling the hard edge that took the club to their first premiership in 43 years in 2014 but, three years later, the roster was at breaking point physically and mentally.
Rabbitohs hierarchy felt a change of coaching voice was needed. Seibold was given the task of providing a fresh edge, but Maguire was always suspicious of the swift nature of the installation of his successor.
Maguire believed Seibold went behind his back, building relationships with Souths players and feathering his nest with decision-makers like Richardson in the corridors of power at Redfern.
Richardson today explains the machinations that led to Seibold succeeding Maguire.
"Seibold never white-anted Michael Maguire," he said.
"It was Michael's decision who his assistants were and he got Seibold on board as his assistant. They had a good relationship with Melbourne, and they went a way back to the Storm.
"We hired Anthony because he was a good young coach and I was impressed with him in our meeting because he had fresh ideas and took a different approach.
"We needed a bit of a change, Madge had done a great job, but we needed a sea-change really. Seibold was certainly an opposite sort of coach to Madge.
"At Souths, we set it up as a club where we promote from within. When Madge left, we chose Seibold and if Dave Furner hadn't have gone to Leeds, we would have chosen Furner to replace Seibold (when he went to Brisbane last year).
"But David went overseas so we had to get Wayne Bennett."
Last year, Seibold broke his silence on the issue. He was "offended" by claims he backstabbed Maguire and even suggested it was a deliberate strategy designed to create drama.
"Some people can plant stories and snidely suggest certain things about myself," Seibold said.
"I've spoken to Michael Maguire since he was released from the Rabbitohs. He called me on the day of my first game as head coach.
"I haven't spoken to him recently, but I hate that a story has been planted by someone who wants to see me hurt."
Seibold was appointed Souths coach in September 2017 within days of Maguire's sacking. A furious Maguire unloaded on Souths' board on his way out.
"Madge thought because the appointment happened quickly, that it was all planned out and that Seibold was positioning himself for it, but it was never the case," Richardson said.
"We set up Souths in such a way that if anyone left, be it Madge or me or whoever, that the club wouldn't collapse.
"I think Madge had it in his head that Seibs knifed him but no matter what I said, it made no difference.
"I can honestly say Seibs and myself never spoke individually about the job. In fact, I spoke to Dave Furner (fellow assistant) more than Anthony because Dave used to do some speaking to our corporate partners.
"We always wanted to promote internally. The day we parted ways with Madge, I sat down with Seibold and Furner over 48 hours and I told them we would be choosing one of them. I said we didn't know who but we wanted them both to stay.
"To his credit, David was very gracious when we chose Seibold. He decided to stay and he was a tremendous help as an assistant to Anthony. He did a superb job helping the players. He was the perfect foil for Seibs.
"It wasn't true that Seibold backstabbed Madge. I spoke to Seibs about the job two days after we let Madge go. That's the truth."
Originally published as Backstabber: Truth about Seibold's bitter feud with Madge