From menswear store to Maroons assistant coach

From menswear store to Maroons assistant coach

When Josh Hannay's days as a professional rugby league player finished, he initially wanted nothing to do with the sport.

His plan was to move back to his mining hometown of Moranbah, 200km inland of Mackay, and run a menswear store.

He'd been unceremoniously deported from Wales when the Celtic Crusaders club hit the rocks, on the back of being relegated to local league team the Gymea Gorillas by Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart.

"I was a bit disillusioned and intended to get away from it all at that stage," admits Hannay.

"I started a menswear business, which my sister ran up until last year actually, and over time I started feeling part of the community again.

"The opportunity came up to do some coaching with the local team the Moranbah Miners and, from there, I guess my passion reignited.

"It was back to the things I loved about rugby league. Everyone that was there wanted to be there just because they enjoyed the game.

"Going back to Moranbah was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. It's led to me being where I am now."

These days Hannay is assistant coach for the Queensland Maroons, having previously been in control of the Queensland Under 18s program.

He effectively replaces Anthony Seibold as head coach Kevin Walters' right-hand man, after Seibold took the top job with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

On a weekly basis, Hannay is also assistant coach for the North Queensland Cowboys under Paul Green.

Of course, Hannay has previously tasted the Origin arena, playing in two games for two wins, kicking four goals along the way.

It's fair to say that just a few years ago, he never envisaged being back at the pinnacle of the game.

"I ended up applying for the role as head coach of the Souths Logan Magpies," Hannay says.

"I called Just about every club in south-east Queensland looking for an opportunity.

"I was prepared to fly down from Moranbah and meet in person, which is what I eventually did when I met with (Magpies CEO) Jim Mclelland.

"I'm so grateful for Souths being the club that gave me my opportunity. It's an amazing club steeped in history full of wonderful people. The type of people that make rugby league great.

"They're in it for the right reasons. They're a club known for giving opportunities to people that other clubs wouldn't"

From there it has been a steady, if not rapid, progression through the ranks.

Hannay has a quiet, calm demeanour, is a strong analyser of the game, and has the ability to communicate effectively with players of all backgrounds.

Just like in his playing days, he is also a team-first member of the staff.

It's put the 38-year-old in the enviable position of working closely with the Maroons as they endeavour to extend their success past the representative retirements of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.

Not bad for someone who contemplated whether he was better off walking away altogether.