The decade-old lesson McKellar is taking into Brumbies' finals campaign

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar will take a decade-old lesson into this weekend’s quarter-final against the Sharks.

McKellar came to Canberra from Queensland and it was in Queensland Premier Rugby that he had his first taste of a grand final opportunity as an aspiring coach.

Leading a Souths team that included Quade Cooper, McKellar helped guide his team to the grand final.

That week he made changes to his side’s routine ahead of the big occasion and ultimately they lost the game, 26-19 to Brothers.

It’s an experience he has never forgotten and one that he said on Monday had informed his mentality to this weekend’s game.

“When I coached my club side in Brisbane back in 2009, I went and changed everything the weekend of the grand final and I learned a lot that week,” he said.

“We lost, Quade Cooper was in the team, a couple of other boys, so I always remember at that point in time, thinking, ‘Next time you get the opportunity, just keep it the same,’ and that's what you learn in this game.

“So we'll just approach Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday like we have all year and nothing will be too different there.”

The Brumbies have no margin for error in Saturday night’s clash, a knockout quarter-final.

With the departure of captain Christian Lealiifano and a host of other players looming, there is plenty of motivation for the club to give some of their stalwarts a fairytale ending.

Despite that, though, McKellar said things would be business as usual leading into this weekend.

“Obviously there's the buzz around playing finals and keen to play in front of a really good crowd so there's all that but we'll keep all the emotion in check and be ready to go at 8:05pm on Saturday night.

The Brumbies will be looking for their seventh straight win at home and their sixth straight win overall.

One more victory would be the longest winning streak in Brumbies history.

The Brumbies take on the Sharks in their Super Rugby quarter-final on Saturday June 22 at GIO Stadium, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RADIO. Ticket info here.