Finally there appears to be some signs of life at Ballymore with today’s announcement that Dan’s, both Herbert and Crowley, along with Tim Horan, will all play an active role in the re-floating the sinking ship that is Queensland Rugby.
Herbert will fill the newly created General Manager role incorporating team management and player negotiations, while the two Dan’s will become consultants in player development and identification. One of the major problems with the Reds has been the lack of full-time administration since the professional era, so the hiring of Crowley and Helmut as consultants rings more than a few alarm bells.
The three former Wallabies will head a six man recruitment and retention panel, which also includes Head Coach Phil Mooney and Academy Coach Paul Carozza, with CEO Ken Freer taking the role of ‘negotiator in chief’. That’s a fair few cooks, huh?
Just how this will work in reality remains to be seen, but at least they might be able to press-gang players into staying and stem the exodus and end of season purges that have defined the Reds for the last 5 years.
The early signs of the effectiveness of the ‘press-gang’ are positive with the announcement last week that Diggers intends to stay with the Reds. This announcement has not yet been followed up with a signature, but it seems a done-deal.
A greater test of the new regime will be whether or not Berrick Barnes likes what he sees and decides to stay with the Reds. All indications point to Barnes staying at Ballymore, but he has remained clear in his intention not to sign until he saw the results of the much talked about review undertaken by Mooney.
The other litmus test will be whether Sean Hardman passes up the mega-Yen that he has been offered and stays with the Reds. Not much has been made of Hardman’s impending departure, but his decision is every-bit as important as Barnes’ to the Reds hopes next season. Without reasonable back-up hooking stocks, Hardman’s signing must be a priority.
Despite the feel-good factor of having the afore mentioned stalwarts on-board, there are still significant holes in the Reds coaching ranks for next season. The lack of a specialist forwards coach is a hole that must be filled quickly after the sacking of Mark Bell.
While the reasons behind Bell’s demise are unclear, it must be acknowledged that he was able to re-build the Reds forwards into something that resembled a decent unit after years of neglect. With the makings of a reasonable pack it needs someone who is prepared to work with what is on offer, rather than changing personnel once again.
Next season will mark Mooney’s third in charge of the Reds, so it is time for him to deliver results. He has been given unprecedented power to totally restructure the Reds’ on and off the field since taking over, and his balls are well and truly on the line.
Mooney has enjoyed something of a grace period in terms of being immune to the team’s poor performance as he undertook the necessary steps, bringing the Reds out of the Stone Age. He has now used up this goodwill and anything other than a mid-table finish next season will be seen as a failure and will seal his fate.