THE SEIBOLD ERA BEGINS
Signing a one-year deal had nothing to do with Wayne Bennett or where he was going to be coaching in 2019 and beyond. Wayne gave me my opportunity at NRL level and I’ll be forever grateful for that. But I’ve also learnt during my short career that no one person makes a footy club.
I say that with the utmost respect to Wayne. I loved being coached by him but I am a Bronco and my love for the club is greater.
My only focus is 2019 – I want to strengthen my game in all areas and I think Anthony Seibold is the man to help me do that. Seibs was on the coaching staff of our Junior Kangaroos team in 2015 and the one thing that struck me at the time about him was his attention to detail.
We only worked together for a short period but it was obvious very early that Seibs was smart, knew his footy and communicated very well. He put a lot of emphasis on the one-percenters. He knew the opposition’s weaknesses that we could exploit.
Seibs and his staff have done exactly the same thing with us this week - a big emphasis on the little things, effort-on-effort, focus on defence and strong communication.
A DIFFERENT PRE-SEASON
I’ve just returned from six weeks training in Orange County, California, preparing for pre-season. Most of it was power-based training with a strong emphasis on my speed and agility.
Each day, athletes from different sports would rock up – ex-NFL players, combat fighters, basketballers and so on – and that change of scenery I think freshened me up.
Now that I’m back in pre-season training, the focus is on conditioning and learning the systems of our new coaching staff. I’m five days in and loving every minute of it.
It also means I’m back training alongside Matt Lodge. Lodgey is my best mate and trains unbelievably hard, just like he plays. We are similar in many ways but also quite different, if that makes sense. I grew up playing rugby union and was always keen to try a lot of different sports. Lodgey, on the other hand, was a leaguie, born and bred in Penrith.
We’ve built a really good relationship and away from the club we often hang out and give each other advice, which I think has helped us both. We like to compete against each other which drives us to get better every day. Both of us hate losing in anything and always remind one another who won what. It’s good fun.
Young guys like Lodgey, Kotoni Staggs, Patrick Carrigan, Payne Haas, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita have made a mark early in their careers and could be anything if they continue the way they have started. Consistency will be key for all of us.
Hopefully, we can stick together and continue building together because we’re a happy group and all mix in well with each other, which helps.
COVERING FOR MOOSE
We have our work cut out for us this season following the departure of Josh McGuire to the Cowboys. Moose was a great player for the Broncos and the news came as a surprise to me.
His work rate and aggression were second-to-none and really important for us. All of us younger guys looked up to him.
In my opinion, a single player won’t replace what Moose brought to our side. We all have to raise the bar and it’s going to be a special team effort to replace what he gave us.