The SportingJournal

Rebels re-shuffle looks set to claim coach

Embattled Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill will almost certainly quit the club at the end of the year after the board demanded he apply for the job when his contract expires in September.

The move comes after CEO Steve Boland handed in his resignation after only 18 months in the role.

After a disappointing first two seasons the Rebels have won just two games in the 2013 Super 15s season and sit last on the Australian conference table – second last overall.

Hill, who took over from legendary coach Rod McQueen in 2012, failed to live up to high expectations for the Rebels last year, with the team winning only four games.

Saturday’s loss to the lowly ranked Southern Kings saw pressure further mount on Hill after the Rebels were in control for most of the match only to lose it in the dying stages.

Last week Rebels spokesman Adam Freier stressed that the club was behind Hill, however the loss to the Kings has undoubtedly left the board dissatisfied with Hill’s overall performance.

The Rebels have not yet publicly sought out a replacement for Hill but it is almost assured that he will not re-apply for the role – even if he does it’s unlikely he will be given the job.

When pressed on the issue of his coaching future last week Hill has said he would like to continue in Melbourne, but was diplomatic when referring to his performance .

“We as a club have worked very hard but I understand we have a lot more to do,” he said.

The decision by the board for Hill to re-apply is part of the Rebels “sweeping review” of the club which has faced extensive off-field issues, including star Kurtley Beale’s exit from the club and the problematic handover of ownership from media mogul Harold Mitchell to the Australian Rugby Union.

Twitter: @eliasLclure

Cover image credit: N. Hewson/Flickr

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