Seibold: I was never going to sack Mac
A month after facing claims he was on the way out and facing increasing pressure from rookie rivals, Andrew McCullough has finally been given confirmation of his future at the Broncos.
Speaking for the first time about McCullough's future at the Broncos, Seibold revealed he has no plans to trade the axed Maroons rake as he prepares for Saturday night's clash against the Knights in Newcastle.
And Seibold is going on a retention spree, agreeing to McCullough activating a 12-month option, rejecting the Cowboys' request to sign Sean O'Sullivan and securing young gun Cory Paix to a two-year upgrade.
McCullough, just four matches shy of becoming the ninth Bronco in history to play 250 games for the club, was last month rocked by claims he was unwanted by Seibold beyond this season.
But as the Broncos move to broker a release for boom back-rower Jaydn Su'A to Souths, Seibold says he is backing McCullough and has authorised a 12-month extension for 2020.
"I'm not pushing Andrew out," Seibold said.
"Andrew has taken up the option, he had one in his favour so he'll be with us for 2020 which is great news.
"I was really happy he took up the option.
"Andrew always had the option in his favour so it was a case of whether he wanted to stay at the Broncos or not and I always wanted 'Macca' as part of our group.
"We are a very young group so we need some experience there and Andrew is one of the club's great players.
"There has been some talk about his future but I was never planning to move Andrew on."
LISTEN! In a special one-on-one interview Matty sits down with Sam Burgess to talk through the highs and lows of his career, his desire to play at Manly and his venture into rugby union.
Sidelined for a month with a knee injury that cost him any hope of playing in Origin I, McCullough returned to play two games off the bench - fuelling speculation he had fallen behind Jake Turpin under Seibold's regime.
But McCullough is back in the No.9 jumper he has dominated for almost a decade for the Knights clash.
It is sign Seibold wants the 29-year-old to help mentor the club's next wave of talent, including hooker or halfback Cory Paix, a Cooper Cronk-lookalike who inked a two-year extension on Wednesday.
"Macca wasn't on the bench because we didn't lack trust in him to do the job," Seibold said. "Andrew was returning from injuring, Jake Turpin got an opportunity and he deserved some reward for playing good football (while McCullough was sidelined).
"We need his experience, he has played in some big games for the club including a grand final and he is a rock-solid professional.
"Macca's back and that puts pressure on the hookers. We want competition for spots internally across the board."
Seibold praised Paix's development and he also explained why he recently knocked back a Cowboys release for O'Sullivan, who plays his third NRL game at halfback against the Knights.
"Cory can do a good job in both positions," he said. "We have great depth in the hooking role at the moment but with Cory coming through, he has a huge future at the club.
"The Cowboys were keen on Sean, but I was never going to let him go.
"It was unrealistic to think Tom Dearden would play every game for the rest of the year as an 18-year-old. I was always strong on Sean staying here and now he has an opportunity to make the most of it."