Media release: Mooney accepts great opportunity in Japan

  • April 3, 2013

Wests Bulldogs Rugby Premier grade head coach, Phil Mooney, has accepted an offer to coach at the Panasonic Wild Knights in Ota, Japan. 

Mooney, whose late father Paul was a Wests Life Member and whose sons Tom and Ben now play at Wests, said whilst sorry to be leaving Wests was confident that the systems and processes put in place over the past 18 months would hold the club in great stead going forward. 

Wests President, Tony Buckley, paid tribute to Mooney saying “Phil arrived back at Wests from New Zealand at the end of 2011 and has significantly improved the coaching culture from Under 6 right up to Premier grade. Importantly, Phil will not be completely lost to the club, retaining a role as consultant even whilst resident in Japan.” 

Buckley added “Whilst we are disappointed to see Phil go, we are absolutely thrilled that the outcomes he has achieved at Wests have been recognised and rewarded by a professional rugby club overseas. It is our objective and desire to grow and develop not only players but coaches and support people as well. We are extremely proud that Angus Cottrell now with the Western Force and Dan Linde who is also heading to Japan at Mitsubishi, were showcased in the West’s Premier team.” 

With Mooney leaving at the end of April to start with Panasonic, Wests have appointed Pat Byron as Premier head coach for 2013. 

Wests Director of Premier rugby, Tony Hawkins, said “Pat, a former Wests junior, has been part of the Premier coaching team and his appointment is part of a planned succession. Pat has coached professionally in Western Australia and at Suntory in Japan so continues the great wealth of coaching experience at Wests.” 

From the players’ perspective, Premier captain Brett Gillespie said “Phil has been a significant influence on many of us at Wests but we are equally confident that Pat and the rest of the coaching group will continue to build on the great platform developed last year by Phil. We wish Phil all the very best in Japan.”

For any media enquiries, please contact:  Tony Buckley 0412 258 703 or Tony Hawkins 0421 093 544.