From Warwick to the national field

Former Warwick Cowboys premiership-winning player Tony McGahan, the Wallabies coaching co-ordinator for the past year, was appointed yesterday to take over on August 1 as the new Melbourne Rebels coach in the Super Rugby competition.
Former Warwick Cowboys premiership-winning player Tony McGahan, the Wallabies coaching co-ordinator for the past year, was appointed yesterday to take over on August 1 as the new Melbourne Rebels coach in the Super Rugby competition. Cameron Spencer

WARWICK can claim two coaches in national competitions following the appointment of Tony McGahan to the Melbourne Rebels head coach position in the Super Rugby competition.

Tony beat a field of 16 coaches from Australia and overseas for the Rebels job.

He joins Newcastle Knights NRL coach Wayne Bennett as former Warwick students with national footy jobs.

Both started their footy careers in Collegians rugby league colours.

Tony captained the Warwick Cowboys to a TRL under-18 premiership in 1990 and played under-20 rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos before embarking on a teaching career that evolved into rugby union coaching.

He made a Queensland Schoolboys rugby union side in his first season in the sport and two decades later moved to Munster in Ireland where his team won Heineken Cup and Celtic League titles.

Last year, he came on board as Wallabies coaching co-ordinator and was sitting next to coach Robbie Deans as goal kicks decided two of the Tests in the past three weeks between Australia and the British and Irish Lions.

His mother Marion McGahan lives in Warwick and was at Suncorp Stadium for the first international when a successful kick on fulltime would have won the Test for Australia.

"It was a bit of a numb feeling afterwards," Marion said.

While she knows Tony, wife Libby, their six-year-old twin sons and a three-year-old daughter will have to move from Brisbane to Melbourne, she said Victoria was only two hours away by plane.

"Being at the Rebels will mean more time at home for Tony with a young family," she said.

"He always enjoys a challenge which he did at the Wallabies and will at the Rebels."

Rebels chief executive, Rob Clarke yesterday highlighted Tony's successful international credentials.

"His extensive experience as a defence coach and strong leadership style are important attributes in his appointment," he said.



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