by Pam McKay
RUGBY LEAGUE: Central Queensland's connection to Queensland's State of Origin victory extends further than the star playing quartet of Corey Oates, Cameron Munster, Tim Glasby and Ben Hunt.
Rockhampton's Anthony Seibold was assistant coach of the mighty Maroons and played an integral part in helping mastermind the memorable series win.
It is the second year in a row that the 42-year-old has been Maroons coach Kevvie Walters' right-hand man and he can lay claim to being instrumental in two series victories.
"We've been really fortunate, we've got the result both times. I was really humbled when Kevvie asked me to do the job and it's been a really good experience,” Seibold said.
"State of Origin is such a massive thing to be part of so this is definitely the pinnacle of my coaching career so far.
"I never thought an opportunity like this would ever come along so being involved for the last two series is something I will always cherish.”
Seibold, who is now assistant coach at the South Sydney Rabbitohs after a four-year stint at Melbourne and one year with Manly, said the game strategy and planning for State of Origin was not dissimilar to what was required in the NRL.
"There was not a lot of difference as far as that went; Kevvie looked after the attack and I looked after the defence.
"We looked at ways to contain NSW and their trends and each game we were thinking about what we need to maintain, what we need to improve and what's really important for the next game.
"I think with each game we, as a group, got better. I thought we were really dominant in that last game and it was a great reward for the playing group and the coaching staff to see the improvement from Game 1 to the end of Game 3.”
Seibold said it was fantastic to have such a strong CQ representation in the Origin group.
"It's something we're all really proud of - to be able to represent our state and the region we came from,” he said.
"It was great to have four local league graduates playing for the Maroons and Kevvie was born in Rockhampton too so we can claim him as well.
"It's a wonderful reflection of our region and it's an incredible achievement.”
Seibold was impressed with the way CQ contingent performed in the heat of battle and how they acquitted themselves in camp.
He said this series was a lot more challenging than last year.
"Last year we had a group that had been very successful for a long time and we won the first two games of the series so things just fell into place really quickly for us,” he said.
"This year we used 26 players which is the most Queensland's ever used, we had eight debutantes, we played three different five-eighths, we had a number of experienced players like Matt Scott, Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd out with injury at different times over the series and we lost Game 1 at Suncorp.
"I think winning Game 3 was a really, really satisfying result.”
Seibold, who completed his education at CBC (now TCC) and St Brendan's College, played all of his junior rugby league in Rockhampton with Rockhampton Brothers before he graduated to the Brisbane Broncos.
His playing career also included stints at the Canberra Raiders, as well as the London Broncos and the Hull Kingston Rovers in the English Super League.
His first coaching role came with the Celtic Crusaders in Wales between 2006 and 2009, and he remembers that even as a young player he was drawn to coaching.
"I loved playing but I really enjoy coaching. I remember even as an 18 or 19-year-old kid at the Brisbane Broncos, I would go home and write down the session plan that Wayne Bennett had put into practice.
"While I was still playing I did a Bachelor of Teaching and did a Masters of Education which gave me skills that are really transferable to coaching.
"I'm very passionate about teaching and coaching and it's a bit of a natural fit going from a teaching environment to a coaching environment.
"I was very lucky to have played a lot of footy for Queensland as a junior and as part of the Queensland Residents team.
"I was never good enough to play State of Origin so to be in that environment as a coach is a real privilege.
"I love coaching, I love the challenge of helping players get better and creating a good environment in a group.
"I'm really fortunate to be able to do it as a full-time job and I'm very grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me.”