Toowoomba Bears’ Andrew McKinnon.
Toowoomba Bears’ Andrew McKinnon.

Bears bank on old hand McKinnon

TOOWOOMBA Bears have turned to an experienced hand to guide their 2012 campaign as they look to claw their way back to the top of the Downs Rugby tree.

Bears president and former Wallaby Hugh Rose has announced former successful Goondiwindi coach and Bears halfback Andrew McKinnon as the club's new head coach.

McKinnon replaces Hamish Procter, who will coach this year's Sunshine Coast Colts team.

In 2010 McKinnon became the first player in more than 20 years to win successive A-grade premierships with different clubs when he switched to Bears after guiding the Emus to the 2009 title.

Bears were eliminated from last season's competition by Toowoomba Rangers in a knock-out semi-final.

Rose said the appointment of McKinnon was a step towards ensuring the club continued its success of the past decade.

"Andrew's coaching team includes Max Fairbanks, while some other former Bears players will contribute with some 'guest' skills coaching," Rose said.

High-profile Downs strength and conditioning coach Grahame Pitt has also joined the club.

Bryan Battersby will be in charge of B-grade, Bill McNaughton will run C-grade and Mick Jarroush is under-19 coach.



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