Reds coach Mooney shines amid legends - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds coach Mooney shines amid legends

By Jim Morton 16/04/2008 06:32:49 PM Comments (0)

Queensland Reds mentor Phil Mooney may be the new kid on the coaching block in Brisbane but he certainly wasn't intimidated by the credentials of Wayne Bennett and Leigh Matthews.

Rookie Super 14 rugby coach Mooney delivered the lines of the annual Three Codes football luncheon which has raised $500,000 for charity since its inception seven years ago.

Joining Broncos super-coach Wayne Bennett and AFL great and Lions mentor Matthews on stage at the Brisbane Sofitel, the youngster's dry sense of humour won over the 600 diners.

The best came when pressed by compere and former Wallabies fullback Greg Martin on his thoughts about the Australian Rugby Union employing Kiwi Robbie Deans as Test coach.

"Twenty thousand of them migrate here a year, each year, you would hope at least one of them would hold down a job," said Mooney, who is married to a New Zealander.

Mooney also didn't miss his Queensland Reds predecessor, Eddie Jones, who led the Reds to the Super 14 wooden-spoon last year.

Asked by Martin how he communicated with his players after "Eddie Jones left a trail of psychological devastation", Mooney said: "You're certainly very popular when you follow Eddie, regardless of the job you do".

He also delivered a sly warning to unnamed players they needed to better embrace training.

Mooney freely admitted he was keen to pick the brains of Bennett and Matthews at the luncheon which has always featured the pair.

Since the start of the event, there have been five different rugby coaches on stage with the Queensland job being a revolving door: Mooney, Jones, Jeff Miller, Andrew Slack and Mark McBain all taking part.

Although Bennett will be at St George next season, he indicated he'd still love to lure former Bronco Berrick Barnes back from the Reds.

Mooney felt Lion king Jonathan Brown would be a valuable asset in the lineouts against Nathan Sharpe on Friday night while Matthews said Broncos, Queensland and Test skipper Darren Lockyer "could play in the AFL tomorrow".

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