The rugby league rumour mill had the supercoach headed north to replace his one-time mentor Wayne Bennett at the helm of the Red Hill club.
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The Broncos were replacing one of the game’s greatest ever coaches with … one of the game’s greatest ever coaches.
But it didn’t pan out how they wanted. Bellamy instead inked a fresh three-year contract with Melbourne, leaving the Broncos to begin their search all over again.
The man they landed on might just be the next best thing.
Anthony Seibold is one of the game’s best up-and-coming coaches. His one season in charge of South Sydney is testament to that.
He was rated so highly, Kevin Walters employed him as a Queensland Origin assistant before Seibold had even coached an NRL game.
And the man he learned much of his craft off was Bellamy, having spent three of his formative years in the southern capital.
That’s why the Broncos have gambled on the Rockhampton product to end the club’s longest premiership drought.
To do so, Seibold will need to find the formula to beating Bellamy. The Storm’s record against Brisbane is phenomenal.
Under Bellamy’s guide, Melbourne has won 15 of their 17 most recent meetings with Brisbane. That includes the past five consecutively.
But Storm skipper Cameron Smith says if anyone can end Brisbane’s title drought — effectively trumping Bellamy — it’s Seibold.
“Every season I’ve played the Broncos, I don’t think they haven’t been a threat for the title, especially (now) with Seibs there,” Smith said.
“He showed what he could do at Souths, he was there 12 months and they had an outstanding year (last season). They just fell short of playing in the grand final.”
The apprentice goes up against the master when Brisbane takes on Melbourne at AAMI Park in the NRL season opener.
Can Seibold trump Bellamy, and signal his return to Queensland with victory over the man who could have worn the crown?
Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park (7.50pm)
Storm: 1 Jahrome Hughes 2 Suliasi Vunivalu 3 William Chambers 4 Curtis Scott 5 Joshua Addo-Carr 6 Cameron Munster 7 Brodie Croft 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Cameron Smith © 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11 Felise Kaufusi 12 Kenny Bromwich 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Brandon Smith 15 Christian Welch 16 Tui Kamikamica 17 Patrick Kaufusi. Reserves: 18 Ryan Papenhuyzen 19 Thomas Eisenhuth 20 Billy Walters 21 Marion Seve
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd 2 Corey Oates 3 James Roberts 4 Jack Bird 5 Jamayne Isaako 6 Anthony Milford 7 Kodi Nikorima 8 Matt Lodge 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Joe Ofahengaue 11 Alex Glenn 12 Jaydn Su’A 13 Matt Gillett. Interchange: 14 Kotoni Staggs 15 David Fifita 16 Thomas Flegler 17 Tevita Pangai Junior. Reserves: 18 Shaun Fensom 19 Patrick Carrigan 20 Sean O’Sullivan 21 Gehamat Shibasaki
The talking point: The Billy Slater era has ended and now it’s up to Jahrome Hughes to fill the boots of the best fullback to play the game. Hughes has fallen into the role in the wake of Scott Drinkwater’s pectoral injury, which robbed the young star of the chance to claim the №1 as his own. Hughes has played the role of a Mr Fix It for Melbourne in past seasons but he can now nail down one of the most important and coveted roles in the side.
The Fox Sports Lab stat: Melbourne has never lost a Round 1 game under the coaching of Craig Bellamy, winning 15 on the trot. The club has only ever lost two Round 1 games.