If there’s one thing his time at Redfern and Red Hill and a stint with England rugby taught Anthony Seibold, it’s that education and communication are the building blocks to success.
If there’s one thing the Sea Eagles took from their disastrous 2022 season, it’s that a lack of education and communication can be fatal.
As Seibold faced the media on day one of his tenure as Sea Eagles coach, it was clear he is hell bent on ushering in a new era after seven straight defeats brought down the curtain on a season most at Manly would prefer to consign to history.
“The end of the season was really challenging but often in those really challenging times that’s when the best learning occurs,” Seibold said on Tuesday.
“In any situation that occurs, education and communication are the key, and that’s what I do know.
"So when the time is right and if that [rainbow jersey] needs to be addressed then like every family we will get our challenges on the table but it hasn’t seemed to be a problem in my short time communicating with the group.”
Seibold ready to hit the ground running at Manly
Also keen to push the message that open and frank communication is critical to putting Manly back on track was CEO Tony Mestrov, who arrived at the club a week after seven players had chosen to stand down from the game against the Roosters as the jersey drama swirled.
“I wasn’t here at the time but people who do know me being here now, it’s about communication. There’s no way that for whatever reason the players shouldn’t have been communicated to,” Mestrov said.
“From day one since I got here it has been about clear communication to everyone in the organisation, including players. If we can do that in the future then everyone knows where they stand and that’s the most important thing moving forward.
“If there is any over-arching initiatives [like Pride Round] they will be run by the NRL. Any initiative will be put forward by them, not us.
“The NRL will do the consulting and speak to the RLPA and the players rather than a club itself and we think it works much better that way.
“It was important our players cleared the air and we gave them the freedom to do that to express themselves on what they felt.
“That’s done, Anthony is here now, it’s a clean slate. and we are here to win football games.”
Central to that objective will be superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic, who is looking to move on from the disappointment of a season-ending shoulder injury and the depature of coach and close confidant Des Hasler.
Having recovered from shoulder surgery in May, the 26-year-old is back on the training track and champing at the bit to return to his Dally M Medal form of 2021.
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“I have worked with Tom and Jake prior to this and they are good men,” Seibold said.
“Jake has been in the Aussie camp at the World Cup but I’ve had a number of conversations with Tom. He got our ‘trainer of the week’ award last week and I reckon that says something about where he’s at.
“We have some of the leading players in the game here. Tom didn’t play much football last year but the previous year he was the best in the game.
“We’ve got Jake and Daly [Cherry-Evans] who were both part of the World Cup-winning squad.
2021 Dally M Medal winner - Tom Trbojevic
“They are elite players and we have some emerging players as well. The challenge and opportunity we have is in that potential, how far we can take that potential.
“The best thing about the opportunity here is not trying to prove people wrong, it’s about trying to prove people right.
“We can be optimistic about what we want to do and I can talk about the potential in the group but they are just words - the challenge is what we do on the park and that starts with what you do every day in the pre-season.
"It's 12 weeks of hard work and the challenge for every player is to develop the love of that grind. That’s my focus - not Brisbane, not the learnings, I’ve been through all that, that’s in the rear-view mirror now.”
- Anthony Seibold photo courtesy Manly Media