Tears flowed from Anthony Seibold on his final day in charge of the Broncos, with the now ex-coach saying his return to Brisbane two weeks ago provided the catalyst for him wanting out.
Seibold said he would now "put a cowboy hat on" and retreat to a farm in Central Queensland for a week to get out of the city and assess his next step.
The 45-year-old spoke to a media contingent at Broncos HQ who were all wearing masks and then generously gave one-on-one interviews on the Broncos former training field, just metres from where the team he once coached went through their drills ahead of Friday night's clash with the Roosters.
After shedding tears while saying goodbye to his players on Wednesday morning, Seibold spoke of when he knew his days in the job were numbered.
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That moment came when he returned to Brisbane after breaking the club's COVID-19 bubble to attend to a serious family matter in Sydney following the round 13 loss to the Rabbitohs in Sydney.
"I think the final straw was hopping back on a plane from Sydney when I wanted to be with my daughter," he said.
"I could've stayed for the final five games and done a review at the end of the year but I wanted to be fair to the club so they can start the process of looking for a new coach.
I will get away .. go back to being someone from Central QueenslandEx-Broncos coach Anthony Seibold
"Since I've come here I've always looked to put the team first. It's really emotional this morning. I'm not afraid to say, I cried in front of the players because I care about them a lot and I've committed a lot to the group.
"I can look myself in the mirror and say I've given it my best shot. We're not where we wanted to be, we failed this year. It was an emotional morning for the players, there were plenty of hugs.
"You connect with people. You're not going to connect with everyone as best but you connect, you're a footy team in the locker room. It's always emotional when you say goodbye."
Seibold will get on a plane on Thursday and leave the Red Hill training field behind.
"A mate of mine owns a property up in Central Queensland so I am going up there with another friend from school and pretend to be a farmer for a week away from the city," Seibold said.
"I said 'work me hard because I want to earn my beer in the afternoon' so we will see what he comes up with.
"I'll think about what is next, but first and foremost I will get away and put a cowboy hat on and go back to being someone from Central Queensland."
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Seibold said he knew it was the right time to walk away for all parties' sakes but gave a strong indication that he would be back with a clipboard in hand in future.
"I haven't lost the passion for coaching," he said.
"It is a really noble vocation. I love helping people and I think I have helped a lot of the young players here become better players.
"We didn't get the results on the scoreboard over the last thirteen weeks and I am big enough to know that to help the club going forward I needed to step away."
Seibold has been the victim of slanderous rumours spread on social media recently and has engaged a lawyer to deal with that issue.
He confirmed he would be "going to the police and giving them a list of names to let them deal with it".
Seibold said he would "take away some really key learnings from the last 20 months" which would make him a better coach and person in the long run.
When asked what went wrong during his tenure, Seibold did not agree that the players had stopped listening to him or that his game model was too complex.
What next for the Broncos?
"We have had over $5 million of our salary cap out for large portions of the year," Seibold said.
"I thought we did a particularly good job to win seven from nine last year to make the play-offs. You talk about a game model, and I thought the first two games this year we enacted it extremely well.
"There have been some challenges since the COVID break with staff and players locked up, the same for all 16 clubs, but for whatever reason that has had a significant impact on our group, and that has had an impact on the field.
"We just couldn’t build any continuity or consistency with our team because of the unavailability of players.
"I will improve as a head coach. One thing I am proud of is that I have been a head coach for three years and I have been able to take two of those teams to finals, and that is hard to do."
The Broncos have won just three games to sit in 15th spot on the ladder heading into the final five rounds and are in danger of collecting their first wooden spoon in the club's 32-year history.
Former Cowboys coach Paul Green and Maroons mentor Kevin Walters are the frontrunners for the Brisbane role from 2021 onwards while Seibold's assistant, Peter Gentle, will take over the reins for the rest of this season.
CEO Paul White said the board would begin the search for a new coach but would not put a time frame on it.