National News

Brisbane sack Bennett, Seibold takes over

Wayne Bennett's 25-season reign with Brisbane is over, with the NRL club sacking the seven-time premiership coach and announcing Anthony Seibold will take over immediately.

Ending a month-long saga, Bennett will take over from Seibold at South Sydney in 2019, a year earlier than first planned.

Broncos chief executive Paul White said while the club had always hoped "for an elegant solution" to the coach swap deal, he had to fire Bennett by voice mail on Sunday after being unable to reach the veteran mentor.

"Due to the events of recent weeks, some of which have been made public and others which shall not be, Wayne Bennett is now not the best person to lead the club as coach," White said, adding the terms of the termination were confidential.

The move follows Bennett's bitter falling out with Brisbane powerbrokers, when he was unable to secure a further term with the Broncos beyond his contract, which had been due to expire after 2019.

With both coaches signed to swap clubs from 2020, their positions appeared untenable for 2019 but Bennett stubbornly clung on, insisting he was going nowhere.

Only on Friday, Bennett stunned and angered the Broncos by promising to dig his heels in and stick out the final year of his contract after Brisbane and Souths thought they'd agreed to a swap for 2019.

"The events of last Friday were quite unfortunate," White said.

"We were unaware that Wayne was going to attend training that day. I was certainly unaware that there was going to be a press conference that day and we weren't informed."

The Broncos finally opted to sack the competition's most-experienced mentor after a spectacular weekend outburst from Seibold.

The Broncos' coach-in-waiting launched a stinging attack on Bennett on Saturday and revealed the emotional toll the saga had taken on his young family.

"I have had a gutful," Seibold told News Corp Australia.

"I've been sitting here for four weeks and feeling like a punching bag.

"It's not acceptable and it's not fair."

The reigning NRL coach of the year said he had twice been told by the Rabbitohs that he'd be coaching the Broncos in 2019 and that he'd actually packed up and cleaned out his office at the Rabbitohs last Thursday afternoon.

Seibold pointed the finger firmly at Bennett for "playing games".

"I told my wife and three daughters we're leaving. We've told the kids twice we're moving and then twice that we're staying," he said.

"They've been in tears. We're trying to sort out their schools."

Bennett had previously denied any contact with Souths players but Seibold said the veteran coach had phoned Damien Cook, Alex Johnston and Sam Burgess about his plans for the Redfern club before Friday's bombshell.

Seibold's claims are understood to have been the last straw for the Broncos and their major shareholder News Corp Australia.

At the very least, the Broncos said the whole saga was too disruptive on the playing group and that fans and sponsors "expect that we'll field a team in round one of 2019 that has the best chance of winning a premiership".

"The reaction of the players will be very positive and I don't say that out of any disrespect to Wayne," White said.

"It's just been the case that disruption over the last six months, which has culminated in the events of the last week have been disruptive and players just require certainty.

"While today's announcement is unfortunate, we have the ability to move forward."

© AAP 2018