Broncos in a spin for Seibold’s rotation plan
Brisbane will make history by becoming the first NRL club to follow the lead of European football and implement a selection rotation policy in their quest to win this year's premiership.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Broncos coach Anthony Seibold plans to rotate his squad of 32 players as the COVID-19 saga forces NRL clubs to brace for the rigours of 18 consecutive rounds of football without a break.
Seibold has spent time in self-isolation exploring playing models in world sport and believes the rotation policy used in the English Premier League can be adapted to succeed in the NRL.
Rugby league history shows the teams that win premierships invariably maintain the same 17-man squad free of injuries and disruptive changes, but Seibold believes the 2020 season will impose major physical and mental demands.
The Broncos have one of the youngest rosters in the NRL and Seibold has revealed his plan to regularly freshen up his squad to avoid player burnout as Brisbane chase their first title since 2006.
"I'm definitely looking at rotation," Seibold said.
"To expect every player in your 17 to play 18 games straight - and we want to be there when the playoffs start - to stay up for that long is a real challenge, not only physically, but mentally.
"I have been having a good look at European rugby and soccer.
"One thing when you rotate players, you can lose teamwork, cohesion and connection but on the other side we will need every squad member we have to get through this season.
"We'll be smart about it, but I've had a look at modelling in European soccer and rugby. Because they play so many fixtures and so many games in succession, they need a strong roster to rotate players to keep them healthy.
"We will be doing some rotation and we will be doing it as we see fit."
Depth will be crucial for the rotation plan to work and Seibold believes he has the roster to succeed.
"With Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue coming back, we have good depth in the forwards," he said.
"For example, with our backline we have younger guys like Herbie Farnworth, Xavier Coates and Tesi Niu who will see more game time.
"It will be the team that has good depth and the ability to handle the week-to-week intensity of playing 18 quality games without a bye that will go through to the finals.
"I've had a good look at how we implement this with our head of performance Paul Devlin.
"One thing I do know, having reached out to European football coaches, rotating players is more of a feel thing rather than something you can lock in weeks in advance.
"This is a huge opportunity for some of our younger guys. Most NRL clubs will be putting thought into this, because this NRL season will be a marathon, not a sprint."
Broncos lock Pat Carrigan backed Seibold's player-rotation plan.
"It will take a team that can hang in there for the long haul," he said. "This season is going to be quite draining on the body and mentally as well.
"Consistency will be key and turning up week in, week out and putting our best foot forward throughout the season."
Originally published as Broncos in a spin for Seibold's rotation plan