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Coates training mishap adds injury to insult for Broncos

Fill-in Broncos coach Peter Gentle just wants to "get a win for Seibs and our fans" against Canberra but will have to do it without injured winger Xavier Coates.

Coates was assisted from the Brisbane training field on Thursday with what Gentle said was a suspected foot injury and joins Matt Lodge on the sidelines after the prop was ruled out for the season with a fractured tibia.

Gentle walks into a hornet's nest of sheer chaos after a week which has included:

  • Tevita Pangai's indefinite suspension and $30,000 fine for an ill-judged barber shop visit;
  • Seibold being placed in a "holding bubble" after attending to a family matter in Sydney last week;
  • Allan Langer and two other staff suspended for a fortnight for breaching Project Apollo guidelines;
  • and 10 players under investigation by the NRL for a further potential breach for visiting a Brisbane pub recently.

To add insult to injury a disgruntled fan, who had been heard sledging players earlier, hurled a Brisbane jersey down in front of Broncos HQ as training ended on Thursday and walked away in disgust.

The Broncos jersey tossed at the front door of the club's headquarters.
The Broncos jersey tossed at the front door of the club's headquarters. ©NRL Photos

"I don't think many coaches have been through this," Gentle said, in perhaps the understatement of the year.

Injuries have only compounded this challenge in the nation's capital on Saturday night but there may be some better news on Coates.

"We will have scans but it's not as bad as first thought, it seems to be more in his foot than his ankle. They are thinking it might be ligament damage in his foot, so it will be only a week or two. Scans will determine that later today," Gentle said.

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Gentle said he would consult with Seibold first but added Jesse Arthars would probably come into the side while adding Rhys Kennedy would replace Lodge on the bench.

He said he was just filling in for Seibold who was "still calling all the shots".

"We had him propped up on a chair in a meeting this morning on a zoom call. I am only filling in, it's not as if Seibs is gone. There is still good energy from the players," he said.

“It's a welcome distraction for [Seibold]. I talk to him many times a day, the staff get together each afternoon and we catch up on Zoom.

"He is getting all the training footage so he is able to cut it up and plan the sessions. He is coaching from afar, I am there just carrying out his wishes which is what we do anyway.

"It's been pretty seamless at the moment with Seibs working at arm's length and a few of the older players have stepped up and helped during the week."

Gentle also confirmed Seibold would be back at the helm within  a fortnight when asked whether the head coach was still committed to the cause.

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"One hundred per cent. I haven’t heard anything different. I haven’t seen him waver off that for one moment," Gentle said.

"This is just a little personal issue he has got at the moment but he is back in a fortnight and we are good to go."

When he spoke to media Gentle had just received word the 10 Brisbane players under investigation for potentially breaking NRL biosecurity protocols would be allowed to train and play on Saturday, pending a COVID-19 test.

"I don't know if it was a distraction or not. It's probably in the back of their minds but it wasn't spoken about as a group or as a team," he said.

Anthony Seibold and Peter Gentle at a game earlier this season.
Anthony Seibold and Peter Gentle at a game earlier this season. ©NRL Photos

"The good news is they can play. We are desperate to give the members, fans and our sponsors something to be proud of. It's been a long time coming but we are desperate to put in a good performance on Saturday night."

Gentle said there was plenty to play for against the Raiders with former Junior Kiwis skipper Jordan Riki making his debut off the bench and Joe Ofahengaue celebrating his 100th game for Brisbane.

"Darius [Boyd] still has seven games left in a wonderful career and if you can't put in a good effort each week for him, you may as well not put the jersey on," Gentle said.

"I know the group is behind him and they want to send him out the best way they can. That's why it's important we keep having a crack. We haven't thrown the towel in. We have got reasons to play and that is what we have got to hang on to."