The Newcastle Knights will undertake a major review that could cost assistant coach Anthony Seibold and other high-profile employees their jobs.

After a terrible performance in Magic Round in which they were beaten 36-18 by the Wests Tigers, chief executive Phil Gardner says he will undertake a complete examination of the entire football operation from the front office to the physios.

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Even club legend and general manager Danny Buderus will be under the microscope. So too Alex McKinnon and Clint Zammit, who both run recruitment.

Gardner is renowned as one of the most demanding administrators in the game.

When I asked about Seibold, Gardner said: "Seibs is a one-year proposition for us," which would indicate he is on the way out.


The entire Knights squad and staff is under the pump.
The entire Knights squad and staff is under the pump.


At this stage there is no suggestion of coach Adam O'Brien being in the firing line. He recently had his contract extended.

"We're reviewing everything," Gardner said. "Right the way through from the front office down.

"We'll look at all individuals and what they bring to the club. That includes culture, recruitment and physical performance and rehabilitation. We're off the pace at the moment and need to fix it."

The Knights' biggest problem has been the lack of leadership and stability in the spine. Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga haven't played together all year.

Their premiership odds have drifted from $21 at the beginning of the season to $67.

"The level of inconsistency at our club is far too high," Gardner said. "We thought we could change it this year but we haven't. Everyone's got to get on board to fix that.

"There's 14 clubs out there under pressure that need to lift to the level of Storm and Penrith and we're one of them. There's a big gap between second and everyone else."

O'Brien didn't hold back in a scathing assessment of where the team is at after the loss to the Wests Tigers.



"As soon as something goes wrong we capitulate," he said. "In physical parts of the game we were beaten up. We were manhandled and not willing to fight hard.

"There's definitely some mental stuff there. Some of it is a personnel thing. There will be some changes at this club over the next few years.

"There's been 10 years without a lot of success. There's three wooden spoons.

"It's ingrained in us a little bit. We've got to find a way to get a winning culture."


One of the highlights of Magic Round was catching up for a coffee with legendary old ARL and Sea Eagles boss Ken Arthurson.

We got talking about the great Manly fullbacks - Graham Eadie, Brett Stewart and Tom Trbojevic.

Arko says he can't separate them.

"They are all champions," he said, "Absolute champions in their own right. It's very difficult to separate them because they played at different times under different rules.

"This young Trbojevic, if he keeps going, who knows how good he'll be.

"Wombat (Eadie) was a great player. I'll never forget him in England against the Poms.

"And Brett Stewart … he's one of my favourite all time players."

Originally published as Knightmare: Seibold, legend in firing line