New coach eager to ignite Redbacks season
AUSSIE RULES: He’s only been at the helm of the Warwick Redbacks coaching for three weeks but Phil Cooney already has a determined outlook for the 2020 season.
A passionate Aussie Rules supporter, Cooney grew up in AFL heartland playing junior football in South Australia and Victoria.
It won’t be the first time Cooney has taken on a coaching role but admits that the new season will come new challenges and initiatives.
“I want to attract more members, more players, and more sponsors – among my job per se as well,” Cooney said.
“There are a lot of loose ends that need tightening up but there’s a lot of enthusiasm to do that because people can see the reward at the end.
“The way I see it is it just needs some watering – this club is in a drought, a serious internal drought but potentially anything could happen.”
While new president Vincent White will be able to make his mark on the field and the boardroom, Cooney is pleased to see the club move away from a ‘player coach’ structure.
“It’s a hard gig – what I’ve found in general is that most of the time they’re a captain to start, then you’ve got your own game to consider and you can’t see the game like someone can from a far,” he said.
“You can be advised during breaks, I’m not saying it doesn’t work but I just think they should be separated.”
Despite not having watched the team train yet, Cooney is already breaking down his sides weaknesses.
“Most clubs are like that and they have their Achilles heel – the teams they want to knock off like Gundy especially in most cases is the go-to team for Warwick in all sorts of sports,” he said.
“Probably our ruck is our Achilles heel, and we lost our full forward so we’ve lost a linchpin there up forward and rucks are always very important – that’s where the game starts.
“We need a good, versatile ruckman and we can grow positions around that centre half forward and centre half back up the spine, it’s very important that you have strong characters in those positions.”
With less than two months until the first bounce, the new head coach is hopeful that a change in leadership at the club will encourage old and new players to get back into training.
“I’d like to think that people would like to try me out; I’ve got a lot to offer, I feel I have both individually and in a team atmosphere so we’ve just got to wait to see who I can work with and what I’ve got to mould,” he said.
“There’s all sorts of cultures out there, and I’m no messiah but I run a pretty tight ship and that’s the way I want it to be.
“Nobody’s bigger than the game, there’ll be some tough calls I bet but that’s football.”