Pressure building on Seibold after Broncos collapse
Pressure is building on Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold after the Broncos sensationally squandered an 18-point lead to crash to a heartbreaking 20-18 defeat to Manly.
Rocked by last week's 59-0 debacle against the Roosters, the Broncos looked to have swiftly buried the darkest day in their history when they stunned the Sea Eagles to bolt to an 18-0 lead after 30 minutes at Central Coast Stadium.
But the Broncos inexplicably capitulated, blowing an 18-4 half-time lead with a woeful second half that consigned Seibold's troops to a third consecutive defeat.
This clash sums up why the Broncos can't challenge for the premiership this year.
The Sea Eagles were as flat as week-old lemonade in the first half, but possess the hardheads to hold their nerve and fight back from adversity. The Broncos are littered with inexperience and simply lack the big-match game managers to nail the coffin shut in clutch moments.
Despite the agonising defeat, it was a vastly improved display by the Broncos.
They ran harder and tackled with more intensity, but the fact remains they haven't won a game since the revival of the NRL which has heralded a faster-paced game with one referee and the six-again rule.
Now the heat is on Seibold to find some answers. The Broncos coach made nine changes for this clash, including Corey Oates in the back-row and unleashing Ben Te'o for his first NRL game in six years, but the Sea Eagles rose from the canvas.
Trailing 18-4, Manly scored two second-half tries through Tevita Funa (44th) and Moses Suli (56th) before Reuben Garrick broke Brisbane's hearts with penalty goals in the 65th and 71st minutes.
Given Brisbane's brilliant first half, it is still hard to fathom how they collapsed after the break.
Brisbane's mentality without the ball from the opening seconds was outstanding. This time, compared to the Roosters carve up, there was energy, desire and punch.
Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs was the form player of the first two rounds and his return from suspension was an instant injection of class for the Broncos. He needed just six minutes to make a statement, taking the ball from a Broncos bomb, kicking ahead and outpacing the Manly cover to touch down for 6-0.
Incredibly, by the half-hour mark, the Broncos were flying at 18-0, young gun Xavier Coates flying high for a bomb in the 16th minute before Darius Boyd answered his critics when he crashed over to leave Manly in disarray.
But with Brisbane coasting, a half-time rocket from Manly coach Des Hasler turned the contest on its head.
Two tries in 12 minutes after the break to Funa and Suli whittled the deficit to 18-16 and Manly, suddenly roaring, turned the screws in midfield.
The second half said everything about these two clubs. Manly have every shred of Hasler's killer instinct. The Broncos simply lack belief to land the killer punch when the heat is on.
SEIBOLD HITS OUT AT CRITICS AFTER DEFEAT
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has hit out at the club's critics, saying "they aren't on board with us" as he lamented Brisbane's 20-18 capitulation against Manly.
Broncos legends led by Gorden Tallis, Chris Johns and Steve Renouf hammered Seibold in the wake of last week's 59-0 loss to the Roosters, calling for the Brisbane coach to stop the rot or face the sack.
The Broncos produced a much better showing in Gosford last night and they could argue they were the superior team to Manly, but Brisbane lost their nerve in the second half to suffer a third straight loss.
The Broncos will finish the weekend outside the top eight and with Seibold under mounting pressure to re-energise his side, the Brisbane mentor bristled at suggestions he was feeling the external heat.
"People who make comments aren't inside our building," he said.
"It (the criticism) is going to be there regardless. It doesn't impact how we train and play. We're not trying to silence any critics, we're trying to get better as a group.
"The people who criticise us ... they aren't on board with us, if you spend your time trying to please other people you will be disappointed."
Seibold had every right to be thrilled with Brisbane's first half. The Broncos started with better intensity than Manly and they looked to be coasting to victory when Darius Boyd crossed in the 30th minute for an 18-4 half-time lead.
But the Broncos' second half was a train wreck. They had just 37 per cent of possession and enjoyed 11 fewer sets than Manly, who duly dictated field position with halfback Daly Cherry-Evans all class after the break.
Seibold also questioned the stripping penalty which allowed Reuben Garrick to slot the 71st minute penalty which broke an 18-all deadlock.
"I didn't think it was a penalty, but they got the two points," he said.
"It's a step in the right direction, but we came to get the win and we didn't get the result. To lose a game like that is disappointing.
"We had all the footy and put 18 points on and could have been up 24-0, but then they had 70 per cent possession in the second half."
Seibold praised the effort of rookie winger Xavier Coates, while key back-rowers Alex Glenn and Tevita Pangai Jr will return from injury and suspension for this Thursday night's away clash against Newcastle.
Originally published as Pressure building on Seibold after Broncos collapse