Phil O’Donnell doing wonders as Women’s Head Coach

The Gungahlin Eagles Women’s program has advanced in leaps and bounds off the back of the hard work of many people in recent months.

Team Manager Senga O’Byrne and Club Captain Shaneqwa Lee-Edwards have demonstrated tremendous leadership to inspire many new and returning faces to join the Eagles campaign in 2021, which has been bolstered by the appointment of Head Coach Phil O’Donnell and Assistant Coach Stuart Crew.

‘Phildo’ as he’s affectionately known has a vast rugby background. Coming through the rugby ranks of Daramalan College, he also played for the RivColl Reddies (Wagga in NSW) at university.

Phil O’Donnell giving a team address at training. Good to see most players paying attention!

His Colts years were spent at the Eagles, before travelling with the army and playing for the Puckapunyal Boars (regional Vic), Palmerston Crocs in Darwin, and Regimental Rugby in the Army (Thurs arvos in Darwin!).

His first foray into ‘retirement’ ended with a few games for the Stray Cats Old Boys (Darwin), then he moved to North East Scotland where he played for the Ythan Bears Old Boys and then 2nd Grade for Ellon Rugby Club all in North East Scotland.

He ‘properly retired’ in 2015 at the age of 42, and has done his fair share of coaching along the way.

Phil’s lovely partner, Lesley O’Donnell, is also a proud volunteer of the Eagles medical team and brings one of the many Irish accents we love to hear around the club.

“We have an awesome group of women that are working hard for each other. The welcoming nature of the team and the hunger to improve will see is go hard at the title!” Phil said after his first few weeks as coach.

His advice for new players? “Come down and see what an awesome group we have assembled. Try everything, have an open mind, listen to what is going on around you, get stuck in and you will love the sense of belonging and achievement!”

Welcome BACK to the Eagles Phil, it’s great to have you on board for 2021.

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