Danny Moore playing for Manly in 1994.
Danny Moore playing for Manly in 1994.

Ipswich ‘a great city’ for Moore family


By Michael Nunn

A LOT of players start in Ipswich and then football will take them away.

Danny Moore was the opposite. He started in Townsville and football coaching brought him to Ipswich.

Moore won a premiership with Manly in 1996, played in three grand finals for his Sea Eagles, played Origin for Queensland, won a premiership with English powerhouse Wigan and played for the Young Guns and Cowboys then moved to Ipswich.

Moore played 119 games for Manly in his 121 NRL game career and 66 games in England.

"I was coaching at Wests and Jack Walters was in our team," Moore remembered.

"Kevvie Walters suggested that I throw my name up to coach at the Jets so I got the Reserves, FOGS Cup coaching role in 2010.

"It's a real challenge coaching Reserves because you get your team disrupted every week and moved around but I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Jets.

"Then we moved to Ipswich which was a great move for my family, IGGS and Claremont Special School was just up the road and the education needs of both my girls were met.

"We made great mates through footy and even after my time at the Jets had ended I coached at Redbank and loved it.

"Ipswich was a great city for my family."

Let us go back to the start and how a young Danny Moore arrived at Manly from Townsville.

"I played Under 19 for Queensland in 1990, we won 16-8 at Lang Park and in the dressing room in walks Manly coach Graeme Lowe and signs me to come down to Manly.

"So I was 19 and off to Manly I lived with my cousin in Manly so mum and dad weren't too worried.

"I played my first game for Manly in 1991 against the Eels I came off the bench then it was back to the Under 21 and Reserve grade until 1993 and I played the whole season in first grade."

Manly were on the cusp of a golden run of grand finals led by Immortal Bob Fulton who had replaced Graeme Lowe.

"I learnt a lot from Bozo. He understands football but also how a team works and why it works that way,'' Moore said.

Manly would play in three grand finals in a row from 1995-97 and Moore would score a try in the Sea-Eagles 1996 win over the Dragons.

In 1995, Queensland name one Moore at centre for the State of Origin series making him FOG number 84.

"I told my mum when I was 15 I was going to play for Queensland," he said.

"The story has been told so many times but people forget a lot of those 1995 players would have gone close to Origin anyway.

"I was 18th man for Kevvie in 1994 at MCG, Gavin Allen and Mark Hohn would have played and then a backrow of Gillmeister, Moore and Larson well they're not left out.

"I know we were underdogs and probably rightfully so but we weren't far off, we believed anyway."

The 1995 Queensland team had an unshakeable team belief that could not be stopped by the Blues and winning 3-0 proved that they were right.

"Not once can I remember us ever talking about losing or even entertaining it. From the first day, it was positive and sure, we could do this,'' he said.

Queensland State of Origin coach Paul Vautin watching the first match in 1997.
Queensland State of Origin coach Paul Vautin watching the first match in 1997.

Led by Origin champion Paul Vautin the Queenslanders would find something that Queensland had been missing since its last series win in 1991.

"Fatty was the perfect coach for the job. He didn't over coach. He didn't try and overanalyse. He empowered us with a lot of what do you think and what are we going to do here?

"That's organic coaching. It just fitted.

"A great example is the try I scored at Lang Park in game three. Mark Hohn came up with that move, based on the two centres combining like the old inside outside centre days. He explained it to us and then we executed it on the night for a try.

"We all had input and all felt like we belonged."

Growing women's footy the Drinkwater way

IT would not surprise me if Tain Drinkwater probably picks up cones at training and kicks footballs back because she wears a few hats at the Broncos.

Drinkwater has two roles at the Broncos. She is general manager of HR Risk and Compliance but when she puts that file away, she reaches for her CEO of the NRLW Broncos side portfolio and gets the Broncos ready for 2020.

"I enjoy both roles,'' she said.

"I have been meeting with our coach Kelvin Wright since January to plan our season so it's a long ongoing process.

"We want to grow the women's game and I'd love to be able to be the fulltime CEO one day."

The Broncos have dominated the NRLW the first two seasons with grand final wins over the Roosters and Dragons but the story this year is not about three in a row.

"We certainly celebrate the past and what the girls have achieved but 2020 is a new year and we need to be improving and making sure we are doing our best this year,'' she said.

"We are very particular about who can play for the Broncos. I sit down with every girl that wants to play for the Broncos to make sure they are a good fit for us and what we are about."

This year has not been without its challenges and Drinkwater has embraced the COVID drama.

"It's been a different year, the QRLW not being played put a dent in our planning then funding was an issue with so much uncertainly around the NRL,'' she said.

"There is a fear with cost cutting the first thing to go will be the women but the NRL have supported us and we work every week with the NRL on what this season will look like."

The funding of the NRLW clubs has come from within the last two years with clubs footing the massive bill to put teams on the paddock, including player salaries, travel and accommodation and training costs.

This can amount to as much as $500,000 a year. Last year the Broncos spent around $200,000 on player payments alone, with contracts worth between $4000 and $10,000.

"The NRL for the first time granted the clubs a significant amount and that will help enormously this year,'' she said.

"Peter V'Landys' TV deal means the NRLW clubs will have financial support this season."

The turnover in the NRLW can be a massive issue with teams experiencing seismic shift in rosters from season to season.

From year one to year two of the NRLW, 90 players played across the four teams and just 41 were at the same team when 2019 came around.

Brisbane had the highest retention rate with 12 of their premiership team back again.

"That's the strength of the Broncos, we have girls that have grown up wanting to play for the Broncos and geographically we are isolated somewhat too,'' she said.


Inspirational Ipswich footballer Ali Brigginshaw scores a try for the Broncos during the national women’s competition. Picture: Brett Costello
Inspirational Ipswich footballer Ali Brigginshaw scores a try for the Broncos during the national women’s competition. Picture: Brett Costello

One of those players will be Ipswich's favourite daughter Ali Brigginshaw who has been the captain and half for the Broncos the past two years.

"Ali is a complete professional,'' Drinkwater said. "The way she conducts herself on the field and off the field, she represents our city and all she has ever wanted to do is be a Bronco.''

Ipswich's adopted international superstar daughter Charlotte Caslick who has had her brother Sam and father Don play for the Jets. She is currently thinking about what to do this season after the World Series Sevens was cancelled and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

"We are open to recruiting, our goal is always to recruit from within and Queensland but Charlotte is an unbelievable athlete," Drinkwater said.

"While we don't want to become a sevens team so we still have to be mindful about if the girl is suited to NRLW.

"Charlotte is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union so it would take them to release her before she could play."

The Broncos will be defending their title in September when the NRLW kicks off for 2020.

Tain Drinkwater will be there wearing a Broncos hat no matter what role she is filling.