Coach’s shock decision puts Sunshine Kangaroos first

Brendan Hallinan. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Lance Jenkinson

Sunshine Kangaroos coach Brendan Hallinan shocked his club on Saturday following a 108-point win over Albion with the announcement he will step down at the end of the Western Region Football League division 1 season.

Hallinan has spent the past four seasons in charge of the Kangaroos, with the pinnacle of his tenure being a grand final appearance last season and going within a whisker of bringing down Deer Park and one of the great dynasties in local football.

The 39-year-old approached the Kangaroos’ board late last week to inform it he would be resigning, the move initially met with shock and push back before he explained his reasons.

“There was nothing untoward,” Hallinan said. “I’m tight with the club, from the committee all the way down to the players.

“We had discussed the idea of me going on … I was open to that, but I went away and gave it some really good thinking. I just thought it was in the best interests of the club to make a coaching change.”

This season has undoubtedly been a letdown for Sunshine supporters. After taking a giant leap forward last season, the Kangaroos were tipped to be contenders again this season – but they will not even feature in September.

The hand Hallinan was dealt with injuries did not help their cause.

“The injuries this year were telling,” he said.

Hallinan has backed the Sunshine squad to rebound and play finals next season.

He believes the extra games he got into youngsters, returning injured players and the well-balanced playing list should give the next coach a head start.

Though Hallinan believes there is one deficiency.

“I think they need to look to get a couple of good key position forwards in, which is one area we’ve been lacking at the club for a couple of years,” he said.

“We’ve got some really good small forwards, but we need some talented talls to be able to structure us up a little bit better.”

Even though he is bullish about Sunshine’s playing list, Hallinan believes he may have got all he can out of the squad.

He says the Kangaroos need a new leader with fresh ideas and a network of contacts.

“It’s not that I’ve wavered my passion for coaching,” Hallinan said. “I’m very much in the head space of wanting to coach.

“It’s a decision that’s been made for the Sunshine Football Club.

“I’ve never in my time in football put myself before a football club and a football club like Sunshine deserves that sort of respect.

“For them to go to the next step and for them to go further, I think they need a fresh set of eyes and that’s why I made the decision.”

Hallinan will not be lost to Sunshine and will be involved in helping find the Kangaroos find a new coach.

“I’ll support the club in making their next coaching decision,” he said.