Newcastle rugby: Tony Munro returns to coaching ranks at University

IN CHARGE: Tony Munro at Newcastle representative training in 2015. Munro will coach University next season. Picture: Marina Neil
IN CHARGE: Tony Munro at Newcastle representative training in 2015. Munro will coach University next season. Picture: Marina Neil

TONY Munro knows there is a lot of work to be done but the experienced coach is excited by the talent at his disposal at University.

Munro replaces Chris McCaskie and will be at the helm of the Students for the next two years.

“They approached me and being an ex-uni student and a life member of the old boys, it felt right,” Munro said.

University, although finishing eighth with just three wins, were in most games but lacked a hard edge.

Fullback Hone Edwards represented NSW Country under-20s and along with Charlie Mortimer, Jimmy Fitzgerald, Sinclair George, Soane Puliuvea, Darcy Christie-Johnston and experienced duo Scott Hamilton and Dane Le Rougetel gives Munro a strong core to build a team around.

“We are going to try and bring in a couple of older heads,” Munro said. “Young kids need a bit of leadership. There are a lot of good kids out there, the nucleus of a good side, they need a bit of direction.

“We are doing a lot of work in the background now on what players we have got and the holes we need to fill. It has never been my style to knock on the doors of local clubs. We will pull players from outside.

“If people want to come over then they are welcome. If we put in place programs that players and officials like, then hopefully they will come to us.

“I have also been doing a bit of work with Greg Mumm at Sydney Uni to find out how they manage students and the vacation period. Getting them to buy in and commit.” 

Munro coached Merewether for three years from 2008, leading them to the finals each time before 18 months at Perth club Wanneroo, where he also worked with Western Force academy.

His most recent gig was two years at the helm of the Newcastle representative team in 20015-16. 

“I have had two years to see if the hunger is still there. It is, I missed it,” he said. “It will be a good challenge, not an easy one. There is a lot of work to be done. We will do an off-season program for six weeks – in the gym and on the field. I need to meet the players before the kids get away on holidays and give them programs, then start back into it in late January.”