Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has denied ever questioning the quality of the roster he inherited in 2018, publicly or privately, in the wake of comments by club chairman Karl Morris.
Seibold’s weekly media conference before Saturday night’s clash with the Warriors in Gosford was better attended than most.
He was peppered with questions about his future, his relationship with club officials and the war of words that has escalated between the Broncos and former coach Wayne Bennett.
Last week Seibold said Morris "gave me a five-year deal because he told me it's going to take a couple of years to sort out this roster".
In the wake of the 30-12 loss to the Titans and the blowtorch that has been applied to the Broncos externally after five consecutive defeats, Morris said to several media outlets the club always knew Seibold was going to need two or three years to get the roster in shape.
He was also quoted as saying that Seibold had said it would take several years to sort out the issues he had inherited.
"When Anthony arrived, he brought it up as an issue that it’s going to be a tough two or three years because of the nature of our roster and the youth in the club," Morris told News Corp.
Those comments enraged Bennett who defended the quality of the roster he had left behind. NRL.com columnist Steve Renouf on Thursday also backed Bennett, referring to a conversation he had with the veteran mentor after the 2018 finals series where both men were excited about the side the seven-time premiership-winner had assembled.
In defence of Issac Luke
On Thursday, Seibold was asked directly whether he had ever said to Morris that he inherited a roster that would need years to fix.
"Not at all. I have never criticised the roster publicly. I have never criticised the roster privately," he replied.
"Every single conversation I have had is about how we can continue to grow the group and the exciting part is we have so many guys in the 0-30 game region. I have never said anything else different to that.
"One thing I do know is the younger players take time to develop. We are staying the course and playing the long game."
Seibold said he had seen improvement in his young stars, but reiterated that youth and a lack of experience was no excuse for non-performance at Red Hill.
"The young guys here will get better. Xavier Coates, Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas are a good example of that. It doesn't matter who wears the jersey, they are expected to do their job," he said.
Seibold started the media conference by making his own statement about the playing group and coaching staff's "willingness to stick together".
In defence of Issac Luke
He is in the second season of a five-year deal but when asked if he felt "safe" in the job, replied he would know himself if it was time to leave of his own accord.
"I don't look two or three weeks down the track as far as job safety [goes]. If at some stage the Broncos didn’t think I was the right person for the job then that's their decision," he said.
"I have a really strong contract there. It's not performance based but at the end of the day, I'll know if I'm not the right person for the job. I won't need anyone else to tap me on the shoulder."
The Broncos hierarchy is investigating whether Seibold needs extra help and he said his assistants Kurt Richards and Peter Gentle, along with consultant Peter Ryan, were giving him good support.
Try celebrations to make a comeback
"I spoke to Kevvie yesterday, not about a job but I reached out and had a chat to Kev. We have always had a really strong relationship so it was great to have a chat to him," Seibold said.
"As you all know, there are [Project] Apollo restriction so that's one of the reasons [assistant coach] Corey Parker can't come into the group. Corey is working in the media at the moment so we can't bring anyone in from outside our group.
"Steve Kearney is another name that has been mentioned but we have Peter Ryan on two days a week and I feel really well supported by Peter [Gentle] and Kurt."