Mooney Boned - Green and Gold Rugby

Mooney Boned

Mooney Boned

In a surprise development Phil Mooney has been sacked as coach of the Queensland Reds. This was announced by the QRU Chairman Rod McCall at a press conference today.

There were rumours circulating last night concerning his potential demise with Greg Martin indicating on Fox Sport that he’d heard it could be on the cards today. There had been no comment from official sources.

It appears the QRU have yet to undertake the process of recruiting any replacement for the 2010 season.

McCall said a meeting of the board in Brisbane this morning had decided to accept a recommendation from a professional rugby consultative group to terminate Mooney’s contract one season short of his three-season tenure. This group comprised former Wallabies Brett Robinson, Tim Horan and Dan Crowley. McCall said that they had decided to act now and not delay the inevitable.

Mooney bravely appeared at the press conference today and was obviously pained by this development. He indicated that he hadn’t yet had time to digest this news.

The QRU will draw up a shortlist of candidates for the vacant coaching position. McCall said he would be interested if a quality coach like Ewen McKenzie put his hand up for it.  They are obviously looking for someone with significant experience at this level.

Under Mooney the Reds had only won six games from 26 matches through 2008 (12th place) and 2009 (13th place).

Despite this record, Mooney was a popular figure around rugby circles in Brisbane and could consider himself somewhat unlucky as to how this situation has eventuated. A lot of experienced players had departed in the first year or so of his tenure and he had to virtually start again from scratch with a very inexperienced side.

Mooney fulfilled head coaching roles with Brisbane club side Wests, the Queensland Academy of Sport U19s and the Reds Academy. He was coach of the Australian U19s side that won the 2006 IRB junior world championship.

This year’s complete coaching and management team at the Reds have now been boned or fallen on their sword including assistant coaches Mark Bell and Damon Emtage, high performance manager Ben Whitaker and team manager Brendan Mullins. QRU Chairman Peter Lewis also resigned following the fall-out from Berrick Barnes’ Waratah signing and a business scandal.

Names being bandied about in the aftermath of Mooney’s departure in addition to McKenzie include Todd Louden, David Nucifora and Richard Graham. Michael Foley is a recent arrival at the Waratahs and thought to be committed to this position. Knuckles Connelly was effectively ruled out by McCall at the press conference.

  • Cameron

    I think this is a mistake.

    With everyone coming and going one thing they have lacked is stability – at least keeping Mooney in place was something they could try and do to try and create something of that.

  • had decided to accept a recommendation from a professional rugby consultative group

    Not many balls evident for a rugby business

    • Reckon we should start up a professional rugby consultancy? Can’t be too hard…

  • I feel for Moons, sounds like a good bloke, but:

    1) You inherit a basket case team. Do you

    a) build the nucleus of a strong forward platform and grind out some wins


    b) go for BBQ footy and feed up Leroy Houston

    Mooney chose (b), I can understand the bullet. Also, if selection/retention is a modern head coach’s core skill, he had a shocker.

    Link, should he be nuts enough to put himself in the hands of the administrational clusterfuck that is the QRU, would at least be able to do (a), which is what the Reds need. He’d be crazy to though.

    • A few things going for link

      a) is there anyone left from QRU09 or have they ALL been given the arse?

      b) he’s spent long enough at NSWRU to know a good clusterfuck when he sees it

  • Joe Blow

    Link had a reasonably good record at NSW with a stable chock full of studs.
    How will he go with QLD whose stable mostly houses donkeys and sheep?

    Better he goes to QLD to leave the way open for Cheika to take the reins in Melbourne.

  • Timmy

    I feel for Phil, and hope that he is retained as the backs coach (which remains a possibility). This could be the best of both worlds – a continuity in attacking backline play that he has developed, and a new strong long term coaching structure that will see the nucleus of this team retained and not raided from the joke that will be the 5th Australian super rugby team. This group of Reds is a good and talented team, but it is the youngest in super rugby. With a long term structure in place, it will achieve very well in the near future, despite the BS written by others on here.

  • Bob

    I always liked Phil, but I think the results speak for themselves. Plus he brought in other who failed and has to take responsibilities for his decisions. I also believe he had to take the fall for Barnes leaving, all he had to do was sack Emtage and he would have stayed.

    Interestingly Wests are advertising for a coach so he can go from one team of wooden spooners to another.

    • Timmy

      He has coached wests before – to a premiership

    • Lance Free

      I heard that the Bulldogs Premier Colts’ coach Carl Marshall was a strong contender for this position.

      The story today of Diggers being upset about the sacking are perhaps balanced by other reports that Hardy and Big Kev were consulted prior to the event…..

      • El Dommo

        this is definitely on the cards. Good luck to him.

        Phil may however go for the coaching director position.

        Interesting that the Emtage talk hasnt been overly boisterous. I guess Phil would have to accept the fact that keeping those 2 (or giving Bell his job actually), may have directly led to some disharmony.

        • Lance Free

          See you in the Grand Final v Red Heavies. JC and I will be barracking for the Magpies…..

          Hamish’s brother was selected in the Brisbane City U17 side to play Queensland Country.

      • El Dommo

        haha, appreciated, i dont fancy those dirty dirty students at all.

        Deconstructing yesterdays game with JC at the moment actually (didt go, have been sick all week, still am), but its all familiar stuff.

        Will have a ber after a victory hopefully.

        Congrats on sons selection. that should be a good group actually, potenitaly super players of tomorrow.

        see you sunday.

  • Ben

    Phil coached me as a junior to a premiership at Wests in U14s over Souths in 1995. Game was at Ballymore, we were 15-3 down at half time and came back to win 17-15. Best premiership we ever won.

    He was a great coach brought down by a fragile list at best when at the Reds. Poor guy should have been given more time or more money for players.

  • happy hooker

    no fault of Mooney’s but what can you say 6/26 speaks volumes… Regardless, I think the administration seems to be improving which bodes well for an incoming coach. McCall, Horan and co will do wonders for the professionalism of the organisation. If they get the right coach and retain talent for 2-3yrs, the Reds could be anything. Look at the number of Queenslanders dominating elsewhere – build it and they will come!

  • red_man_to_ the_bone

    Anyone who has been coached by Mooney will tell you he is a complete lemon. Nice guy and that’s the truth… Coach well like I said the general thought is he was way out of his depth. Premier Rugby may well be his go. With West’s. Not sure how that will go with him but maybe a good fit for the Doggies. Not sure on the Carl Marshall as head coach call, I am sure that must be a mistake, from my understanding of his sides he is a Damon Emtage clone… Bring back Damien Reidy as the head coach!!

    • El Dommo

      well thats a bit harsh i think. But i guess i have to somehwat agree with the requirments at prem and academy level as opposed to Super level. lets not forget though, this was Mooneys first birth at super level. He maybe…maybe…should have been a specialist type coach first, like Foley is doing with the forwards…we all know he is gearing up for the Head Coach position.

      no comment on the Marshall/Emtage statement. HA.

      Reidy was assistant coach for the last 2 years…with David Witt. they have both left hence leaving the psitions open for the upcoming season.

      • red_man_to_ the_bone

        Phil actually was an assistant coach to Jeff Miller I think.. Can’t remember which one of the last coaches that we have had. The general feeling was then he was short on original thoughts… That may sound harsh but the players in both the Academy and at Reds level he was not very good. Now if that’s harsh, well that is life.

        Like I said lovely bloke… But not a professional coach. Having read some reports I like the look of this Louden. He seems to me to have a good touch with turning things around. Anyone feel care to off some thouhts on the candidates?

      • Rugby Man

        Carl Marshall and Drew Vautin are the favorites to get the Gig at Wests.

        • Lance Free

          Rugby Man – looks like son No 3 will be playing down there for Colts next year. Carl spoke to him the other day.

    • El Dommo

      Emtage was assistant to Miller. Mooney was strictly u19’s, academy and QAS coach (over the years of course) until his Reds HC role.
      Work with the Academy may lend one to think he was an assistant to Jeff but i dont believe it was in an official capacity.

      Louden for mine is the caoch for the reds. I think McKenzie is the fave, BUT, i would like to see Louden or Cheika.

      Its a pity Foley is with the Tahs, he actually withdrew his application in 2007 when Mooney got the job, i think Foley would be the best investment for the Reds. But i repeat my statement above, with foley probably not available, Louden.

      • Davey

        All specialist coaches in the ARU system (including Foley) have get out clauses should a Head Coach role come up at another ARU franchise. My money is on Foley.

        • El Dommo

          I hope thats accurate, would love for it to be Foley….however my understanding is that Foles is an employee of the NSWRU, not the ARU.

          Would it apply with his employer being NSW, perhaps not?

  • Bob

    I love the reference to Marshall and Emtage. I’ve found it very interesting how every coach who sees Emtage present or such, falls in love with his ideas and throws a few into their system.

    Ironically, according the the reds backs he had minimal technical knowledge and is a one trick pony.

    El Dommo: Mooney was the skills coach under Jones (maybe even under Miller for a year). Jules did the academy before he “needed a break”.

    • El Dommo

      Im sure Damon has some strengths, but…what are they?
      HA…shouldnt laugh though…he might be reading this.

      Thats not a surprise about Phil as skills coach, i had almost forgotten (i erased the Jones era from my memory), but yes you are right, Julian was academy throughout that time, after the 2004 Premier Season i think it was, he was the academy coach.
      But im still not sure he was the skills coach under Miller.
      Not surprising though, Phil is very skills heavy, which i have ot say is a good thing…

      Those in Brisbane…i’ll see you all at Ballymore on Sunday.

  • Rugby Man


    From what I have seen The Wests Colts have improved out of site. Your young fella should enjoy his time there.


Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

More in Rugby