Brisbane Broncos have appointed Kevin Walters as head coach after ending a humiliating NRL season with the wooden spoon.

The Broncos have turned to Walters, who will relinquish his State of Origin coaching duties with Queensland Maroons to replace Anthony Siebold on a two-year deal.

A five-time premiership winner as a player with the Broncos, Walters returns to Brisbane after 20 years following a forgettable 2020 season which saw the club finish bottom.

"I love the Brisbane Broncos – this club is part of who I am and it feels like I am coming home," the 52-year-old said in a statement on Wednesday as he eyes a return to the finals.

"I've put in a lot of work over the past 15 years to learn and gain the experience that's required to succeed in this role, so I feel that I'm ready.

"The success of the Broncos over the years has been built on passion for the jersey, standing by your mates and plain old hard work, and we will strive for nothing less.

"I'm looking forward to getting into the building and starting work on preparations for the 2021 pre-season."

Broncos chairman Karl Morris said: "Kevin has played the game at the highest level and as a coach demonstrates a passion and ability to communicate and connect with his teams.

"He has a track record of getting the best out of his players regardless of age or experience, and the board saw that as a key element for where we are at as a club.

"You don't get any more 'Bronco' than Kevin Walters – we believe he is the right choice at this time in the club's history to lead our team into the future."

Walters succeeded Mal Meninga as Maroons coach at the end of 2015, guiding Queensland to back-to-back series triumphs over New South Wales Blues in his first two years in charge.

The Maroons, however, have since suffered series losses in 2018 and 2019.

Reflecting on his time with the Maroons, Walters added via QRL.com: "It's been an incredible ride and I'm extremely proud of what we've been able to achieve, as well as the foundations we have built for the future.

"I've always felt I've had a responsibility towards rugby league in Queensland after everything the Maroons and the game has given me, and I'll continue to assist with the team's Origin preparations in any way that is possible."

Brisbane great and current South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has been tipped to replace Walters.

Brisbane Broncos were effectively consigned to NRL's wooden spoon for the first time in their history after Kyle Feldt's hat-trick led North Queensland Cowboys to a 32-16 victory.

The Broncos missed a chance to move off the foot of the table at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday and with a points difference almost twice as bad as Canterbury Bulldogs' -180, they are all but guaranteed to finish at the bottom of the standings.

Kotoni Staggs converted Payne Haas' early try for the hosts but was forced off in the 11th minute with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

In his final match before retiring, Darius Boyd – a premiership winner with the Broncos – extended Brisbane's lead but Jake Clifford, Feldt and Justin O'Neill crossed to send the Cowboys into the break in front.

Corey Oates restored parity before the hour mark but Feldt went over twice in the space of seven minutes, taking his tally for the season to a league-high 19 tries.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow touched down with four minutes remaining following a fine break from Valentine Holmes, and Gavin Cooper, making his final appearance before hanging up his boots, added the extras as the Cowboys finished the season on a high.

Penrith Panthers secured their first NRL minor premiership in 17 years thanks to a dominant first-half showing in a 32-12 win over North Queensland Cowboys.

Brian To'o, Stephen Crichton, Josh Mansour and Jarome Luai all crossed as the Panthers racked up 20 unanswered points during the opening 40 minutes en route to the J.J. Giltinan Shield.

Viliame Kikau continued to pile the misery on to his former employers as he leapt to claim Nathan Cleary's kick and score four minutes into the second half.

Brent Nadan touched down in between converted consolation tries for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Kyle Feldt, with Penrith able to rest James Tamou, Api Koroisau and Zane Tetevano, casting an eye towards post-season.

Following Canterbury Bulldogs' surprise win over South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday, Brisbane Broncos are now the team in bottom spot after a lacklustre 26-12 defeat to the Parramatta Eels, for whom captain Clint Gutherson scored twice.

The Broncos must win the Queensland derby to have any hope of avoiding a first wooden spoon in their history, with Gold Coast Titans-bound David Fifita a major doubt for that match having been helped from the field with an ankle sprain.

Daniel Tupou scored his 100th NRL try as Sydney Roosters ended Newcastle Knights' top-four hopes with a 42-12 victory at the SCG on Saturday.

Roosters wing Tupou's second of the game early in the second half saw him hit the milestone in his 171st appearance, helping his team move ahead of Parramatta Eels on points difference and into third.

Josh Morris, Tupou, Luke Keary, Joseph Manu and James Tedesco all crossed in a rampant first half for the hosts, who lost Boyd Cordner to a head injury after 26 minutes, though tries from Enari Tuala and Gehamat Shibasaki ensured the Knights were not completely out of the game.

The Roosters moved the ball magnificently for Tupou to touch down for the 100th time in the left corner three minutes after the restart, and Jake Friend's excellent pass preceded Keary completing his double in the 70th minute.

Brett Morris and Joseph Manu held up Lee to keep Newcastle, who were without full-back Kalyn Pogna, scoreless in the second half, with Sonny Bill Williams playing over half an hour after managing 14 minutes on his debut last week.

The Roosters' success meant Canberra Raiders remain two points adrift of the top four despite a big 37-8 win over St George Illawarra Dragons.

Jack Wighton touched down twice for the visitors at WIN Stadium, while Hudson Young, who missed last year's Grand Final due to an eight-game ban for eye gouging and suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season, scored a try and set one up for John Bateman.

Young's display enabled Josh Papalii to rest for the entire second half, with the only consolation for the Dragons being Cody Ramsey scoring with his first touch in NRL and adding a second before half-time.

Brisbane Broncos took the lead against Gold Coast Titans but ended up succumbing to a club-record ninth straight defeat.

Darius Boyd put the struggling Broncos ahead at Cbus Super Stadium but after Ash Taylor's line break initiated a length-of-the-field move that was finished off by Young Tonumaipea, the Titans held firm for an 18-6 triumph.

Penrith Panthers recovered from a shaky start to comfortably see off Brisbane Broncos 25-12 for a 12th straight victory to move a step closer to being crowned NRL minor premiers.

The Broncos began life without head coach Anthony Seibold with a 58-12 loss against Sydney Roosters last week but made a promising start to Thursday's clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Kotoni Staggs was played through a gap to the outside of Stephen Crichton by Darius Boyd and stormed over for a ninth-minute try.

But the Panthers soon found their stride and were on level terms with 25 minutes played thanks to Josh Mansour, who profited from Jarome Luai's great work.

Nathan Cleary put the visitors in front with a penalty and then placed a perfect kick behind for Kurt Capewell to catch and ground just before half-time.

The Broncos, unbeaten since June, flexed their muscles a little more in the second half and further extended their lead when Luai pounced on another Cleary kick.

Jordan Riki charged up the field and around the outside of Dylan Edwards to reduce the arrears, but Brian To'o responded almost instantly by scrambling over in the corner at the opposite end.

The impressive Cleary sent over a drop goal late on to add further gloss to the scoreline as the leaders moved five points clear of Melbourne Storm, who face South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday.

Sydney Roosters ran in 10 tries as the miserable Brisbane Broncos began life without head coach Anthony Seibold with a 58-12 defeat at the SCG.

Seibold departed this week following a sixth successive loss and Peter Gentle, who will be at the helm for the rest of the season, was unable to pull off an upset against the reigning premiers.

Sitili Tupouniua powered through for the opening score in the fifth minute and he played a crucial role in a try for James Tedesco, who went over after Isaac Liu.

Tupouniua doubled his tally in the 27th minute but Kotoni Staggs ensured the Broncos did not go into half-time scoreless with his ninth try in 10 games this year.

The onslaught from the Roosters continued soon after the restart, though, with Josh Morris and Daniel Tupou touching down by the 46th minute.

A fine individual effort from David Fifita reduced the arrears, but Nat Butcher streaked clear before Morris and Tupou bagged braces.

The impressive Kyle Flanagan slotted through a ninth successful conversion after Brett Morris capped a resounding victory that closed the gap to the third-placed Parramatta Eels, who were thumped by South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday, to two points.

Jamal Fogarty was the hero as Gold Coast Titans rallied from 10-4 down in the final five minutes to beat St George Illawarra Dragons 14-10.

Tyron Peachey touched down after Fogarty's grubber bounced kindly off the padding around the post, and the Titans half-back successfully converted to restore parity.

Fogarty ensure there was no need for golden point extra time, finding a way over after an excellent line break from Alex Brimson to seal a second win in seven games and hurt the Dragons' finals hopes.

Anthony Siebold has stepped down as head coach of struggling NRL club Brisbane Broncos, effective immediately.

Embattled boss Siebold announced his departure on Wednesday, less than two seasons into a five-year deal, amid Brisbane's woes and intense speculation over his coaching future and personal life.

Siebold – who arrived from South Sydney Rabbitohs as the 2018 Dally M Coach of the Year – was also placed in isolation for 14 days after leaving the Broncos' coronavirus bubble to deal with a personal matter.

Peter Gentle will take charge for the remainder of the season, with the Broncos languishing 15th in the table after managing just three wins heading into round 16.

"From a professional viewpoint, this was the hardest decision I have ever made. Right now, I want to spend more time with my family. They have made enormous sacrifices for me in recent times," Seibold said. "I was honoured to be appointed Brisbane Broncos coach at the end of 2018. This was the club where I started my rugby league journey as a young man and it's a club that I have always admired.

"For many reasons, my time at the Broncos did not work out as we had all hoped. But that's sport. We love sport because it's full of uncertainty. And rugby league seems to throw up uncertainty better than any sport I know. People ask me if there are things I'd change about the last two seasons. None of that matters right now.

"I gave it my best at the Broncos and I am responsible for where we currently are. Head coaches know that there is no finger-pointing and no deflection of blame when a club struggles.

"These events haven't dampened my enthusiasm for coaching or wanting to help others achieve. In fact, they have made me more determined. Head coaching in the NRL isn't for the faint of heart. I know that. And I know that I'll be a better coach, a better leader and a better person for all that I have learnt over these last three seasons at South Sydney and Brisbane.

"I have very much appreciated the messages of support from many people over the last two weeks. I want to thank them, and I want to let them know that I’m doing ok.

"I have appreciated the opportunity to coach the Broncos. I thank Karl Morris and Paul White for their work and their advice throughout my time here. They run a very successful club and they should be proud of what the Broncos achieve in shaping so many lives for the better across Queensland. This club is more than what happens on the football field and I've been privileged to see that up close.

"I thank the Broncos fans. I've had plenty of well-wishers and I've had plenty who haven't been as impressed. Sport only succeeds because of the passion of the fans. Without them, we have nothing.

"Most of all, I'm appreciative of the opportunity to be a football coach, working with young men towards a common goal. I thank my players over these last two seasons for their effort, for their camaraderie and for their passion for playing football. Our game is a brutal game physically."

Broncos chief executive Paul White added: "As you are aware, Anthony spent the last two weeks in home isolation after having to step out of the Project Apollo bubble for a serious family matter. During that time, Anthony has reflected on his role at the Broncos and the impact it is having on his life away from rugby league.

"As a result, Anthony approached Chairman Karl Morris late last week to indicate he did not wish to continue as coach of the Brisbane Broncos. The Board understands Anthony's situation and has accepted his wishes to step down from the position.

"The role as coach of the Broncos is one of the most high-profile and high-pressure in Australian sport, and Anthony has performed admirably since starting in late 2018.

"But the levels of scrutiny – some of it bordering on hysterical, if not slanderous in recent times – have placed a heavy burden on Anthony and his family.

"As a club, we have endeavoured to support Anthony and his loved ones through all of this. But at the end of the day only Anthony can understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Broncos coach, and live with the highs and lows of the role.

"On a personal note, I would like to thank Anthony for the tremendous amount of effort and diligence he has poured into the job during his time at the Broncos.

"He can certainly coach, he will coach again, and he is also a very good man. He has always acted with the utmost professionalism and ushered in a new generation of stars who will become household names for our club in the future. As a club, we wish Anthony and his family all the best in the future."

Head coach Ivan Cleary hailed a "really cool" performance from Liam Martin that drove the Panthers to a 38-12 win over the Sharks, a 10th successive victory for the team. 

The back-rower was outstanding and grabbed the fifth of seven tries for the leaders, with Josh Mansour crossing for a double on his 150th NRL appearance. 

Martin signed a new two-year contract this week and showed his worth to Cleary with an all-action display. 

"That's really cool," Cleary told a post-game news conference. "For that performance it just shows the character of him and he had a huge impact in our performance tonight." 

Viliame Kikau set the Panthers on the way to a comfortable win with a third-minute opening try, with Mansour and Brent Naden dotting down before the 20-minute mark. 

Stephen Crichton went over before the break, with Martin, Jarome Luai and Mansour adding second-half scores. Jesse Ramien and Connor Tracey grabbed the Sharks' consolation tries. 

Cleary said of the team's performance: "It was very good, but there's still things that we need to fix. 

"I don't mean to be arrogant or disrespectful to the Sharks or anything. We're confident we're doing a lot of things right, but there's little lessons again tonight, little things again in our game from week to week, that whether individual or from a team we can still improve on and the boys know that." 

Dean Young made a winning start to his coaching career as St George Illawarra Dragons landed a 28-24 win over Brisbane Broncos. 

Two tries from Mikaele Ravalawa and one each for Josh Kerr and Corey Norman, who both crossed in the opening five minutes, were supplemented by 12 points from the boot of Zac Lomax. 

Young, a former star forward for the Dragons, took over following the departure of Paul McGregor, seizing the chance to guide the team through the rest of their season. 

The Broncos trailed by just two points when Kotoni Staggs added the extras to Tom Dearden's 69th-minute try, but the Dragons held out, with Lomax's third penalty at the death putting the seal on their success.

Shaun Johnson ruled out giving evidence against Kevin Proctor after the Gold Coast Titans captain was sent off for allegedly biting him during a 30-18 win for Cronulla Sharks.

Proctor's 250th NRL appearance will not be remembered for the right reasons, as the forward was given his marching orders following an incident in the second half at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.

It was deemed after referee Henry Perenara asked the Bunker to examine footage that Proctor sunk his teeth into the arm of his New Zealand team-mate, so the 31-year-old was the first NRL player to be dismissed for biting.

Johnson, who came off with a groin injury later in the game, told Fox Sports: "Nothing happened, let's just leave it at that. We were both heated in the middle of the game and I was a bit high on him and whatever happened, happened, but we're still mates.

"It's his 250th [NRL match] and I don't want this to dampen this at all. He's been a great player for so long at Melbourne [Storm] and now Gold Coast, and he's led with his actions his whole career.

"I don't think it's appropriate and I guess this doesn't do Kevvie justice to talk about this. He's a great player and I've loved playing with him at Kiwi level and I've got nothing but respect for him."

Asked if he would testify against Proctor, Johnson replied: "No, not at all. I don't see the value of taking it any further than what's happened here today. I love him as a player and person, and I've got nothing more to say about it."

Three tries in the space of six minutes from Sione Katoa, Wade Graham and Jack Williams following Proctor's exit put the Sharks well on their way to a seventh win in nine matches.

Adam Reynolds was on target with a late penalty and a field goal after Alex Johnston grabbed a double in a dramatic 31-30 win for South Sydney Rabbitohs over North Queensland Cowboys.

Canberra Raiders put the sorry Brisbane Broncos to the sword in the final match of the day, Nick Cotric touching down twice in a 36-8 rout at GIO Stadium.

New Zealand Warriors have appointed Nathan Brown as their new head coach.

Brown joins on a deal until the end of the 2023 NRL season after Stephen Kearney was relieved of his duties last month.

The Warriors, who have played the entire season in Australia because of restrictions in New Zealand enforced to combat coronavirus, have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes in recent weeks, claiming successive wins over Wests Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles under interim coach Todd Payten.

"I'm a career coach. I just love coaching and this job with the Warriors is a fantastic opportunity," Brown told the Warriors' official website.

"I spent time in Auckland during the pre-season and was really impressed with the whole set-up, the players and the staff throughout the organisation.

"The Warriors are hugely important to the competition. We've seen that this year with the sacrifices they've made to keep the NRL going. I can't wait to get stuck in."

Meanwhile, Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is to self-isolate for 14 days.

Following the Broncos loss to South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday, Seibold remained in Sydney for personal reasons.

Broncos CEO Paul White said: "Anthony is dealing with a serious family matter and could not fly back to Brisbane with the team after the Rabbitohs game last night.

"He expects to be able to return to Brisbane within 48 hours but in line with COVID regulations he will need to self-isolate for 14 days once he is back in Queensland.

"Anthony will return to the Broncos after that. Assistant Coach Peter Gentle will coach the team in Anthony's absence."

The Broncos are enduring a dismal season and have just six points from 13 games.

South Sydney Rabbitohs inflicted more pain on the beleaguered Brisbane Broncos despite the absence of Wayne Bennett with an emphatic 28-10 victory in the rain at ANZ Stadium.

Broncos coach Bennett was forced into isolation for two weeks on Thursday after breaching the NRL's biosecurity protocol with a trip to a restaurant.

The Bunnies were clearly not affected by Bennett not being present for the clash with his former club on Friday as they moved up to sixth place, with Jason Demetriou filling in as coach.

Dane Gagai finished off a well-worked move to put the Rabbitohs in front and although the Broncos responded with a score from Herbie Farnworth, Adam Reynolds and Mark Nicholls crossed to give the home side a 20-6 half-time lead.

The fit-again David Fifita marked his return from injury with a try to give the second-bottom Broncos hope, but Tom Burgess finished at the other end and Reynolds made it four conversions out of four to complete the scoring.

It was another day to forget for Brisbane, with club legend Allan Langer earlier among three staff members to be stood down for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

New Zealand Warriors earlier ruined Manly Sea Eagles boss Des Hasler's 400th game as an NRL coach with a 26-22 victory at Lottoland.

Patrick Herbert grabbed a double as the Warriors got off to a storming start, leading 16-0 after 18 minutes, before withstanding a Manly fightback to move up to 11th.

Allan Langer is among three members of the Brisbane Broncos staff to be stood down for breaching coronavirus protocols.

Langer, Ryan Whitley and Blake Duncan attended a private function in Brisbane and must undergo COVID-19 testing before being allowed to return to the bubble.

The trio were not permitted to not travel for the Broncos' NRL clash with South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday

A Broncos statement said: "Three Broncos staff members will undergo COVID-19 testing after attending a private function in Brisbane.

"The club became aware of the matter today [Friday] involving football staff Allan Langer, Ryan Whitley and Blake Duncan, and contacted the NRL immediately.

"As a precaution, those staff have been placed on "COVID Holds", and will undergo testing before returning to the Project Apollo bubble.

"To adhere to best practice, the staff members won’t travel for tonight's game in Sydney against the Rabbitohs."

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and St George Illawarra Dragons prop Paul Vaughan were stood down on Thursday for breaching protocols.

 

A miserable NRL season for Brisbane Broncos continued with a dramatic 36-26 defeat to Cronulla Sharks, while Wests Tigers saw their Finals hopes suffer a blow as New Zealand Warriors recorded a surprise victory.

Brisbane have now lost nine of their past 10 games as the pressure grows on coach Anthony Seibold, while Cronulla are up to fifth in the ladder after claiming a sixth win in seven despite being without a host of stars including Josh Dugan.

In a back-and-forth contest featuring 11 tries, Sharks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with three scores in the final 10 minutes.

Sione Katoa, Connor Tracey and Braden Hamlin-Uele went over in the closing stages at Suncorp Stadium to follow up on first-half efforts from Ronaldo Mulitalo, Siosifa Talakai and Jackson Ferris.

Richard Kennar dotted down twice for the Broncos, who fell to defeat despite scoring five times. They scored 12 unanswered points to overturn a half-time deficit but were unable to hold on.

In Friday's other contest, the Warriors came from behind to triumph 26-20 and win for first time in four games, as interim coach Todd Payten got one over his former team.

An inspired second-half double from Peta Hiku and what proved to be a match-winning try from Tohu Harris turned the tables at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Tigers have now lost four of their last five NRL matches but that scenario did not look likely when captain Moses Mbye and David Nofoaluma crossed inside the opening 12 minutes, with 14-8 the eventual half-time lead.

Hiku made the difference with two superb tries on the left wing, before Adam Pompey set up the pivotal score from Harris.

Tommy Talau got one back for Wests late on to put them within six points, but the Warriors were not to be denied.

Brisbane Broncos head coach Anthony Seibold said he is interested in signing Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith.

Smith – the first player to reach 400 NRL games – is uncontracted beyond this season after extending his contract with the Storm last year.

The 37-year-old Australia great was born in Queensland but he has spent his entire career with the Storm since 2002, winning two NRL Grand Finals and as many Dally M Medals.

It remains to be seen whether Smith will continue playing next season but Seibold – who worked with the superstar as an assistant during his time at the Storm and Queensland Maroons – revealed the Broncos will consider pursuing the veteran.

"Of course, it is something we would consider but it is a really long bow. Would he add something to us? Could he add something to us? Of course he could," Seibold said on Wednesday.

"I worked with Smithy for five years at club level and rep level so I do have a really good working relationship with him. It is not something I have spoken to Cameron about or he has spoken to me about.

"A little bit of experience would be something to add to the group, going forward. I am not sure how long he wants to play for but Cameron would add not only experience but leadership and quality on and off the field to any organisation or any team… but I would assume that Cameron would finish his career at the Melbourne Storm."

However, Storm chairman Matt Tripp played down Brisbane's interest in Smith midweek as the Melbourne club look to retain the icon in some capacity.

"This is absolute news to me. We know nothing about that," Tripp told SEN Breakfast. "Cameron is contracted until the end of the year.

"At some point in the next month or so we will attempt to either renegotiate a contract for Cameron as a player or we will try and arrange something for him whereby he will remain committed and part of the Melbourne Storm in some capacity for hopefully many years to come."

Smith has made 11 appearances for the second-placed Storm this season, kicking 49 goals with a conversion rate of 89 per cent while recording nine try assists.

"First and foremost I would try and convince him to stay. He is so important to our club," Tripp said. "Whether that's in a playing capacity or whether that is being one of the coaches, sitting on our board, there are many options for Cameron in terms of what he may do.

"All of those options to my mind involve the Melbourne Storm and certainly not a Queensland club."

The Gold Coast Titans have signed Queensland and Brisbane Broncos forward David Fifita on a three-year deal.

Fifita, 20, will join the Titans from next year in a deal reportedly worth 3.5 million Australian dollars.

Titans head coach Justin Holbrook was delighted with the signing of Fifita, who has played 37 NRL games.

"I am extremely excited by David committing to our club for the next three years," he said.

"As a coach we want to bring players to our club to improve the squad and David will definitely do that.

"David already has a close connection with our club through some of our players which is an important element that I am looking for as we build this team."

Fifita has already represented Queensland three times, having played last year's State of Origin series.

Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell said: "We welcome David to the Titans and are so excited that he has chosen to play his footy on the Gold Coast.

"We are looking forward to getting to know the Fifita family.

"Family is central to David's decision and it is a core piece of what we are building at the club.

"We wish David well for the rest of the season in Brisbane and for the State of Origin series to follow and can't wait to welcome him into our squad later this year."

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