New Souths boss promises to keep brutal training regime
ANTHONY Seibold won't be shaking up the ruthless training regime that was Michael Maguire's trademark at Redfern, but the club's flagging game plan and roster strategies are set for an overhaul under the new rookie coach.
On his first day in charge of Souths, Seibold has vowed to maintain the discipline and fitness floggings that first took them to a historic 2014 premiership, then came under so much criticism during the latter years of Maguire's tenure.
With football boss Shane Richardson stressing that Maguire's axing makes "no difference" to the arrival of star 2018 recruit Dane Gagai, the Queensland flyer and his new teammates can strap themselves in for another torturous pre-season when they return to Redfern on November 1.
Considering Seibold graduated from the same famed Storm coaching school as his predecessor, the 42-year-old also surprised no one by stressing player "accountability" would form the backbone of his approach.
"I spoke about Madge's legacy that he's left in and around the work ethic and the discipline in the place," Seibold revealed of his first address to the playing group on Thursday.
"That can't change ... I'm from an academic background so I'm pretty comfortable with theories on how to train, but I have a real athlete-centred approach to my coaching.
"Everything we do is opposed. It's all about game awareness, using games for understanding, asking players questions and asking for feedback and giving feedback."
Maguire's sacking as Souths coach shocked plenty within the playing group, while the man himself was well and truly blindsided, having welcomed Bulldogs back Richie Kennar as the club's newest recruit just hours before being given his marching orders.
The abrupt dismissal also raised immediate doubts around Gagai's lucrative four-year-deal to wear the cardinal and myrtle next year, given it was Maguire who signed him.
But Richardson moved quickly on Thursday to confirm Gagai, their one high-profile signing for 2018, was still on the way from Newcastle.
"Not at all. You've got to remember Dane worked under Seibs in the Queensland team," Richardson told Fox Sports.
"We've spoken to Dane Gagai over the last 24 hours. He's down on Monday to go looking at houses and will spend the whole week with us.
"He's excited about coming to us and the change of coach makes no difference to that."
As for the rest of the roster, Seibold will dive straight into the club's retention and recruitment hits and misses from Friday.
The latter have provided plenty of angst for Souths fans in recent years, with the likes of Luke Keary, Nathan Brown, Dylan Walker, Cameron McInnes and Chris McQueen all thriving after being moved on from Redfern.
At the same time the Burgess twins have struggled while chewing up more than $1 million of the Rabbitohs' salary cap.
Seibold has an exciting crop of young forwards led by gun back-rower Angus Crichton to work with, but will have to make calls on senior players including the off-contract John Sutton, Robbie Farah and the Burgess brothers (all off-contract in 2018).
"I haven't seen where we're at with the salary cap," Seibold said.
"I haven't seen where we're at with potential recruits or retaining some players ... I'll get a good understanding of that and make some considered decisions around that.
"Obviously we finished 12th, we're not happy with that. We had some things that placed some hurdles in front of us during the year.
"Obviously (Greg Inglis' season-ending injury) is the elephant in the room, losing him game one.
"We've got a really good, young group of players there so we need to make sure that they continue to get better.
"And I want to have a conversation with our senior players going forward about how we can improve the group and what they need to do as well."