‘Wayne’s gone’: Broncos buy into Seibold era
Broncos stars say they have emphatically moved on from Wayne Bennett, hailing the "new era" of accountability under Anthony Seibold they believe will break the longest title drought in Brisbane's history.
In a spicy prelude to Friday night's grudge match at Suncorp Stadium, leading Broncos players have closed the door on the Bennett legacy, backing Seibold's methods to deliver the club's first premiership since 2006.
Even Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd - Bennett's greatest supporter and playing ally - believes Seibold has brought a more detailed approach to the Broncos.
Bennett returns to face Brisbane this week for the first time since his Broncos sacking eight months ago in charge of a Souths side on the ropes after their shock loss to Canterbury last Saturday night.
Bennett's axing last December was expected to trigger a player exodus with his most dedicated disciples, such as Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai Jr and Payne Haas, tipped to follow the super coach to Redfern.
Instead, all three have stayed loyal. Haas has vowed to honour his six-year deal, while Lodge and Pangai Jr last month signed new contracts in a $4 million retention drive that doubled as a show of faith in Seibold's title blueprint.
Lodge said he would always be indebted to Bennett for resurrecting his career after his New York rampage in 2015, but was relishing the winds of change under Seibold at the Broncos.
"Wayne's gone," Lodge said.
"He's coaching the opposition this week so good luck to Wayne, but he has got nothing to do with what we are doing now.
"I loved my time with Wayne but I'm loving my time with 'Seibs' as well.
"Wayne is looking after Souths now and we have our own culture here.
"It's a new era … and Wayne is not leading it."
Front-row sensation Haas added: "Seibs has brought accountability. He is straight down the middle. You have to do your job and if you don't do your job, he holds you accountable."
No one appreciates Bennett's influence more than Boyd. He won premierships with Bennett at the Broncos in 2006 and Dragons in 2010 before the pair reunited at Red Hill in 2015 to feature in a grand final loss to the Cowboys.
But the Broncos skipper believes Seibold is the right coach to mentor Brisbane's next wave of stars, headlined by Haas, Pangai Jr, Lodge, David Fifita and Kotoni Staggs.
"There's more attention to detail (under Seibold) I suppose," Boyd said.
"Wayne had his assistants probably handling more of that type of stuff (game analysis) whereas 'Seibs' does it himself.
"We do have assistant coaches as well, but Seibs' attention to detail (is different).
"Wayne's way obviously works with the success he's had. But Seibs is great for the young guys. Seibs is great at doing little things with them and you can really see we're starting to put some things into place which is working well for us."