Former Wallabies assistant McKay named Brisbane City NRC coach

NRC
by Emma Greenwood

Former Wallabies assistant Jim McKay has been named Brisbane City NRC coach in a coup for the organisation.

McKay, who is also an assistant to Brad Thorn at the Reds where he serves as attack coach, will take the reins from University of Queensland mentor Mick Heenan, who guided the team last year.

Rod Seib, who guided Queensland Country to the grand final last season, has retained his spot as Country coach.

McKay will be joined by assistants Cameron Lillicrap, Daniel Heenan and Elton Berrange, with Seib to be assisted by Michael Todd and Moses Rauluni.

After helping guide the Reds to the Super Rugby title when attack coach in 2011, McKay left Ballymore in 2013 to join head coach Ewen McKenzie at the Wallabies.

Queensland Reds assistant Jim McKay will direct traffic at Brisbane City this season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au

He has also held roles as Tonga assistant coach at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and head coach at Japan top League side Kobe Steelers.

He returned to the Reds for the 2018 season and has helped mould the young side's attack under Thorn.

“Firstly, it’s an honour and a privilege to coach Brisbane City," McKay said.

“Having coached at different levels it’s a new challenge. It’s a great opportunity to get to know other coaches and also players – not only from the Reds, but from within the strong Brisbane club rugby scene.

“Cameron and Daniel will offer great experience in the set-piece this season, while Elton has 10 years of coaching experience at Uni having come through their system from colts.

“Rugby for me is about bringing people together and providing an opportunity. The challenge for us now at Brisbane City is to come together as one team for a common and united purpose to achieve something special together."

 

Seib said it was an advantage to be heading into the new season with the same coaching staff from  last year, in Todd and Rauluni.

“We worked well together last year as a unit and it will be great to continue to build upon the platform that was initially set back in 2017 when the team went through and won their maiden title," he said.

“The NRC is a brilliant development program for players and staff alike and its special to be a part of the Queensland Country group once again.

“The competition is a proven breeding ground for talent, and we’ve seen a number of our 2018 Country cohort go on to Super Rugby and other representative honours in 2019.

“Jock Campbell was named the Reds Rookie of the Year in his debut season, while players like Harry Hoopert, Angus Blyth and Harry Hockings have all become regulars in the Reds’ match-day squad. I’m looking forward to unearthing some new talent again in 2019.”

Rod Seib will guide Queensland Country again after leading them to the NRC grand final last year. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

McKay also boasts a talented group of assistants, including Reds' scrum doctor Lillicrap, former Wallaby Heenan, who will focus on lineouts, and general assistant Berrange.

Brisbane City will continue its use of suburban grounds in 2019, with all four home matches at Brisbane club rugby venues, including GPS, which will host the season-opener against defending NRC premiers the Fijian Drua on August 31.

Country will play the Western Force in Perth their season-opener, also on August 31.

The full draw was released earlier this week.

One match per round will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, with the remaining games to be shown LIVE on rugby.com.au and Kayo.