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Sporting legends headline QRL coach forum

Some of Australia's greatest sporting minds will share their insight at the upcoming Queensland coaches network forum next weekend.

The two-day event will be hosted at Novotel Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast, on November 27 and November 28 and will feature a raft of sporting talent; headlined by newly-announced Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett and former Australian cricket captain and selector Greg Chappell as keynote speakers.

The two Australian sporting greats will be joined alongside a number of other formidable coaches and performance staff who can't wait to attend and share their knowledge at the forum.

Limited places remain to attend this unique opportunity to hear from some of the greatest minds in sport and to network with hundreds of other coaches.

Click here to find out more and register.

Wayne Bennett

Seven-time NRL premiership winner and newly-appointed Dolphins coach

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans with Wayne Bennett.
Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans with Wayne Bennett. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Wayne Bennett is arguably the greatest rugby league coach of all time. The 'super coach' has won seven NRL premierships in a stellar coaching career that took off in 1988 as the foundation coach of the Brisbane Broncos. Prior to coaching, he was an Australian international and Queensland interstate representative back in the 1970s.

Bennett has also tasted success at the Origin and international levels of the game, leading Queensland to five series victories - most recently in 2020 - as well as a World Cup winner as New Zealand's assistant coach in 2008 before taking charge of Great Britain / England from 2016-2020.

Bennett was recently announced as the head coach of Queensland's newest NRL franchise the Dolphins and will be at the helm from the start of the 2023 season.

Greg Chappell

Former Australian cricket captain and selector

Former Australian Test captain Greg Chappell.
Former Australian Test captain Greg Chappell.

Greg Chappell is a former Australian cricketer who captained his country in both Tests and One-Day Internationals in an illustrious career from 1970-1984. Since his retirement as a player, Chappell has maintaining a strong connection to professional cricket as a selector for national and Queensland teams, a member of the Australian Cricket Board, and a coach.

Chappell's coaching resumé includes stints with South Australia and India as well as a consultancy role with Pakistan. In his time, he has also served as an Australia selector on three occasions; from 1984-1988, 2010-2011 and most recently 2018-2020.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and to this day, is still regarded as one of the greatest batsmen to ever play for Australia.

Mal Meninga

Australian Kangaroos coach and Gold Coast Titans high performance senior advisor

Australian Kangaroos coach and Queensland great Mal Meninga.
Australian Kangaroos coach and Queensland great Mal Meninga. ©David Hossack/NRL Photos

Mal Meninga had one of the most illustrious careers in rugby league, winning three premierships with the Canberra Raiders in 1989, 1990 and 1994. Meninga went on four Kangaroo tours between 1982 and 1994 and captained his country in 24 tests. He won the Golden Boot award for the world’s best player in 1989 and was named in the Australian and Queensland teams of the century in 2008.

Meninga coached Queensland to multiple Origin series wins, including the Maroons' historic 'eight-straight' victories and is the current coach of the Australian Kangaroos.

Meninga was named the game’s 13th Immortal in 2018 and alongside his current role at the helm of the national team, is also the Gold Coast Titans' high performance senior advisor.

Tahnee Norris

QRL female pathways manager and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach

Norris pumped for future of the female game

Tahnee Norris is the current head coach of the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons and was recently appointed Queensland Rugby League's female pathways manager. Prior to taking the head role with the Maroons, she was the premiership-winning coach of the Burleigh Bears women's team since 2015.

As a former Queensland and Australian representative, Norris has coached in the women’s game since retiring from the sport and has 25 years experience working in high performance sport at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games level.

Prior to her role with QRL, Norris worked with the Australian Institute of Sport, Netball Queensland, Cricket Australia and Paddle Australia.

Neil Henry

Former coach and current NRL consultant

2021 Queensland assistant coach Neil Henry.
2021 Queensland assistant coach Neil Henry. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Neil Henry has had more than 35 years of experience coaching rugby league with 14 years in the NRL. He currently consults to the NRL in a variety of areas including the new player development framework, RISE development program, TackleSafe program, Jillaroos representative program and Junior Kangaroos.

His full-time coaching career started as an assistant coach at the North Queensland Cowboys from 2003-2006 along with an assistant role with the Queensland State of Origin team from 2006-2009 and 2020.

Henry was appointed head coach of the Canberra Raiders in 2007-2008 and then coached the North Queensland Cowboys from 2009-2013. His last head coaching position at the Gold Coast Titans started late in the 2014 season until 2017. In all, he has coached for 10 seasons in the NRL amassing 248 games and making the finals on five occasions.

The accomplished mentor is widely regarded as one of the game’s best tacticians.

Brad Donald

Australian Jillaroos coach and NRL elite programs manager

Brad Donald with Karina Brown.
Brad Donald with Karina Brown. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Brad Donald is the current Australian Jillaroos head coach, winning the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. He started his coaching career as the Canberra Raiders' SG Ball coach and has played a key role in the progression of women’s rugby league. Before taking up the Jillaroos coaching job, he was the head coach of the Queensland Women’s team.

He has been employed by the NRL in a number of roles from game development, participation strategy and projects manager and now is the elite programs manager.

Cliff Mallett

University of Queensland professor - sport psychology and coaching

Professor Cliff Mallett.
Professor Cliff Mallett.

Professor Cliff Mallett has enjoyed a distinguished career in elite coaching and academia. He was an Olympic and World Championship medal-winning coach and won a national university teaching award in 2011. In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious August-Wilhelm Scheer Professorial Fellowship at Technische Universität München in Germany. He developed a world-renowned online program in sports coaching and consults nationally and internationally to many elite sporting organisations. He is a leading international scholar in two broad and interrelated research areas - sport psychology and coaching.

Mallett joined the School of Human Movement Studies in 2000 after a career in physical education and also in elite coaching as a national high performance coach in track and field with the Australian Institute of Sport and Queensland Academy of Sport. He teaches undergraduate and graduate students and actively researches in the area of elite sport. Mallett regularly consults with elite coaches and athletes as well as coach developers in several national sporting organisations and international organisations.

Mallett's program research has informed both policy and practice in sports coaching, in both the youth development and elite sport sectors - nationally and internationally. He has published extensively in sport psychology and coaching to foster an evidence-based approach to coach learning, development, and subsequent practice to foster positive outcomes for all actors in the sport setting, especially the athletes.

James Hinchey

NRL general manager - participation strategy, education and projects

James Hinchey presenting in 2019.
James Hinchey presenting in 2019.

James Hinchey is the NRL general manager for participation strategy, education and projects and has led the development of the rugby league player development framework, a game-wide project being undertaken to deliver age and stage appropriate rugby league experiences. Hinchey also leads the NRL coach education team, who in recent years have redeveloped the game's coach education program to align with the objectives and philosophies of the framework.

Prior to Hinchey's current position, he has held roles as Queensland NRL game development manager, Brisbane Broncos' elite player development manager and chief executive officer of the Redcliffe Dolphins.

John Mitchell

QRL physical performance manager

QRL physical performance manager John Mitchell.
QRL physical performance manager John Mitchell.

John Mitchell is the physical performance manager with Queensland Rugby League. He has been working in elite sport for more than 25 years across a variety of sports up to the highest levels of competition in world championships and Olympic Games including:

  • ACT Brumbies - head of athletic performance
  • AIS Rowing and Gymnastics - senior strength and conditioning coach
  • Australian Rugby Sevens - head of athletic performance
  • Australian Rugby Union - national strength and conditioning coordinator
  • Canberra Capitals WNBL - head of strength and conditioning
  • ACT Academy of Sport - strength and conditioning manager
  • Canberra Raiders - strength and conditioning coach

Brett Jones

QRL senior pathways and performance manager

Brett Jones presenting at a recent QRL conference.
Brett Jones presenting at a recent QRL conference. ©Cameron Stallard/QRL

Brett Jones is the senior pathways and performance manager with Queensland Rugby League, beginning the role in 2019. Prior to joining QRL, he was the high performance general manager for Queensland Cricket and talent manager at WA Cricket.

Jones played 102 games for West Coast from 2004-2010, including winning the AFL premiership in 2006. He also captained Western Australia at the under 19 Cricket Australia National Championships in 2000 and was drafted to the Western Australia Warriors squad but never made his first-class debut, instead focussing on Australian Rules.

Adam Gorman

Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer - skill acquisition

Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer Adam Gorman.
Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer Adam Gorman.

Adam Gorman completed his PhD through the University of Queensland under the supervision of Professor Bruce Abernethy and Dr Damian Farrow. His thesis investigated the capability of expert basketball players to extract information from the patterns of play that exist in a typical basketball game. Gorman's previous work experience included four years as a physical education teacher in British and Australian secondary schools, as well as 10 years working at the Australian Institute of Sport as a senior skill acquisition specialist. His employment involved working with a range of sports, including basketball, netball, water polo, volleyball, rowing, swimming and athletics.

Gorman's research interests cover a diverse range of topics, but most notably focus upon the areas of representative design of practice sessions, scaling of equipment for junior sport, manipulating constraints to enhance skill acquisition, performance analysis and analysing the underlying factors that contribute to expertise in the sports domain.

Gorman continues to work with a number of different sports and sporting organisations ranging from elite sport through to junior and developmental levels.

Darren Holder

QRL coach development consultant

Darren Holder.
Darren Holder.

Holder is an experienced facilitator, coach developer and systems convener with a demonstrated history of working internationally with elite coaches and performance leaders to develop strategy, design systems and programs, and support learning and the growth of individuals.

Holder has an extensive global network supporting his ability to facilitate a variety of experiential learning opportunities, along with a passion and commitment to support the elevation of coaching as a profession through learning and continuous improvement. He has established an array of resources, services, and bespoke programs to support coach growth, development, practice, performance, and well-being, across all sporting domains.

Matti Clements

Australian Institute of Sport people development and wellbeing director

Matti Clements presenting with the Australian Institute of Sport.
Matti Clements presenting with the Australian Institute of Sport.

Matti Clements is an expert in wellbeing and people management with over 20 years’ experience working with Australia’s top elite and professional sports at both a strategic and operational level. In 2018, Clements joined the Australian Institute of Sport to lead the new athlete wellbeing and engagement department. The department's vision was that all Australian athletes can learn, thrive and contribute to their community during their time in high performance sport and life afterwards.

In 2020, Clements was appointed to lead the new people development and wellbeing department at the AIS - responsible for developing and implementing national strategies for high performance sport in the areas of coach development, workforce development and leadership and culture, as well as continuing to implement the world renowned athlete wellbeing and engagement strategy.

Marty Rabjohns

Bendelta manager and four-time Australian national rowing champion

Four-time Australian national rowing champion Marty Rabjohns.
Four-time Australian national rowing champion Marty Rabjohns.

Marty Rabjohns is a former Australian rowing coxswain, a four-time Australian national champion and a 2008 Olympian.

Outside his rowing accomplishments, Rabjohns undertook broad tertiary studies, achieving a Bachelor of Applied Science from Canberra University, a Graduate Diploma in Education from University of Technology Sydney, an MBA from University of Sydney and a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Queensland.

He has worked in performance related roles for the Australian Sports Commission, New South Wales Institute of Sport, Rowing Australia, the Canberra office of PricewaterhouseCoopers and is now the manager of Bendelta - enabling organisations, teams and individuals to reach their full potential.

Lúcás Ó'Ceallacháin

Australian Institute of Sport Queensland coach development lead

Lúcás Ó'Ceallacháin.
Lúcás Ó'Ceallacháin.

Lúcás Ó'Ceallacháin is the Australian Institute of Sport coach development lead for Queensland. He holds several academic qualifications, including a Master of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Management and a Diploma in Sport Psychology.

He has also completed several professional courses and programs that contribute to his experience in high performance sport, in addition to his previous roles at United World Wrestling and most recently at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.

Ó'Ceallacháin was also rugby player and has worked in development for international rugby nations.

Steve Rynne

University of Queensland associate professor

Dr Steve Rynne.
Dr Steve Rynne.

Dr Steve Rynne gained his PhD in the field of sports coaching, learning from the University of Queensland after being awarded the first Queensland Academy of Sport PhD research scholarship.

Rynne has worked with UQ HMS and the Australian Sports Commission as a research officer, investigating coach learning in the national coaching scholarship program and is currently involved as a research fellow on a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation project being run through the Indigenous Sport Program (via Australian Sports Commission).

Rynne also works with Cricket Australia, contributing to coach education and development projects. He teaches undergraduate and graduate students in sports coaching and is a registered health and physical education teacher as well as coaching junior and masters track cyclists.