Former Broncos coach Anthony Seibold’s is reportedly a significant step closer to tracking down the source behind the trolling storm that shocked the NRL this season.
Reports earlier this week claimed Seibold’s private investigation through hired European cybercrime experts had supplied Seibold with the name of an employee of the NSWRL as a person of interest.
It emerged on Monday night that the investigation has reportedly moved to a potential contact of the NSWRL employee with a report claiming the investigation is closing in on the potential source.
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Prior to his departure from the Broncos, 46-year-old Seibold was subjected to salacious rumours during his final months with the club, which were generated and distributed by internet trolls on social media sites.
Seibold was forced to contact police and hire cybercrime investigators in the hope of exposing the culprits who fabricated the “disgusting” rumours.
The NRL integrity unit is also reportedly monitoring the situation.
Seibold and Channel 9 star Erin Molan were two of the names mentioned in a 60 Minutes story on Channel 9 talking about the impact of the trolling on himself and his loved ones.
“It’s been hurtful to myself. It’s been hurtful to others. It’s been hurtful to people close to me,” Seibold said.
“It’s been pretty tough, particularly the last couple of months. In some ways it’s like the Wild West out there.
“My situation went viral on social media … my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.”
Now Channel 9 journalist Danny Weidler has shared intriguing details about the identity believed to be the “key person” in the investigation.
He said the investigation is moving on from the NSWRL employee reported to be involved.
“I know the person’s name. Phil Gould, Paul Gallen, greats of the Blues, would never have heard of this person,” Weidler told Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night.
“I would say he’s a fringe person at the NSWRL but he does have a role there. I don’t know whether his name is going to come out or not, but I don’t think he’s the person who started off this rumour.
“I think there’s interest from the investigators who have seen this man and talked to this man as to somebody who is in the contact list in his phone. I don’t know how they’re going to get to that person. But that person is the key to this, not the NSWRL person.”
It comes as The Australian on Monday revealed the investigation has identified more high profile people and handed the names over to Seibold.
Seibold confirmed in the 60 Minutes story it was “someone who makes a living from our game” with the report alleging it was “an employee of New South Wales Rugby League”.
The statement said the organisation was “disappointed that the allegations were aired without anyone from the NRL Integrity Unit, NSW Police, Sixty Minutes or Seibold contacting NSWRL to discuss the matter beforehand”.
“I have had the opportunity today to have a number of conversations with various representatives of the NRL and Anthony Seibold,” Trodden said in a statement.
“While the various parties are unable to provide the identity of the person involved because of ongoing police investigations, I am confident that the person is not a full-time employee of NSWRL.
“Trolling is appalling … and action should be taken if it is properly proven. It should never be tolerated and we feel for Anthony Seibold and his family for what he has been put through.
“Equally, it is really important for me, as CEO of NSWRL, to make it clear that none of our full-time employees are involved in the alleged behaviour and it’s also important that our reputation is not unfairly tarnished.”