Brothers bold in coaching changes
BROTHERS Ipswich president Mark Hennelly wanted to take a different approach to the club's coaching appointments for the 2018 season, and he is confident they have achieved that goal.
Brothers will enter the 2018 Ipswich Rugby League season with new senior, reserves and under-19 coaches.
A club figurehead and former senior and reserves coach will also transition into a director of coaching role, to help make the transition seamless for both player and coach.
"As a committee we're excited about our coaching staff for this season,” Hennelly said.
"We expect there will be a total change in how the players play the game, how they act both on and off the field and particularly with a respect to attitude and how things happen at the club.
"Nothing negative about our previous coaches, but we just needed to change a few things and with these new appointments and the support of the committee, that's what we hope to achieve.”
After a year away from the senior side of things, Jason Connors returns to take over the A-grade coaching reins.
"We've taken a different approach this year, appointing Jason Connors who was our junior coaching and development officer,” Hennelly said of the 2016 coach.
"He's a full-time employee at the club and has played for us for many years.”
Despite the successes of the premiership-winning reserve grade side in 2017, Shaun O'Loan will make way in favour of Steve O'Connell.
Last year's Swifts first-grade coach was not offered a contract with the club for 2018, and thus Hennelly and the Brothers committee jumped at the opportunity to add someone of O'Connell's experience.
"This will be Steve's first time at Brothers, and I expect he will bring a totally different outlook,” Hennelly said.
"He was the first grade coach at Swifts for two years, but wasn't reappointed and we saw him as a good addition to our coaching staff so we've brought him on board.”
But O'Connell will not have to go it alone, with reserves premiership player Aaron Bennett stepping into an assistant coaching role.
"Aaron has played all his junior football at the club,” Hennelly said.
"He played in the reserve grade grand final this season and has played a lot of A-grade for us over the years; he's a respected junior coach who we believe can be a good back-up for Steve. He's well respected by all the players.”
O'Loan will not be moving far from his former post, however, as he moves into the newly-minted director of coaching role.
"Shaun has been a coach at Brothers across various grades and is well respected by all the players,” Hennelly said of the 2017 premiership coach.
"The idea is he and Jason will help set the standard for the club, where he will work with first grade and also provide assistance to the other coaches.”
Nat Dwyer and Rebecca Jones return to lead the Brothers women; a partnership which nearly brought the club a Struddy's Cup premiership in just their first season in the South East Queensland Women's first grade competition.
"Beck Jones and Nat Dwyer had a very successful first year at the club, and were just-beaten in a very tight grand final,” Hennelly said.
"We're really happy to have them back on board.”
Darryl Squires retains his role as strength and conditioning coach, while adding under-19 duties to his schedule.
Hennelly said early feedback from the players was overwhelmingly positive.
"We're pretty excited about the new season,” he said.
"We won reserve grade and the women were in the grand final so it wasn't a bad year, but we always want to improve. We think with the coaching panel that's been appointed, it will give us every opportunity to achieve those goals.”