‘Timing is not always perfect’ as Phil Bailey leaves HKFC for the NRL and Cameron McIntosh takes the reins
The 34-year-old adds first-team coach to his director of rugby role ahead of the resumption of the Hong Kong Premiership this weekend
“Timing is not always perfect in the coaching world,” says new Natixis HKFC coach Cameron McIntosh as he prepares to lead the side for the first time against Kowloon this weekend.
With former coach Phil Bailey departing just prior to Christmas, director of rugby McIntosh has stepped up to fill the void left by the former rugby league international.
Bailey – who played over 100 games of top-level domestic rugby league in both Australia and England – has returned to his native Australia to take up a coaching role with NRL side South Sydney’s reserves.
That leaves McIntosh with the unenviable task of keeping things ticking over at a team that is top of the table after a number of lean years and thumped powerhouses Societe Generale Valley 35-3 in the last game before the break.
“Obviously when Phil came here two-and-a-half years ago results weren’t going the way we wanted them to go,” McIntosh said.
“I wasn’t here at the time but I was informed that the style of play and everything around the top side probably wasn’t where it needed to be with the new level of professionalism here in Hong Kong.
“He’s been able to transition us into that and I know it was a tough decision for him to leave after he had done all the hard work to get us in such a strong position, but timing is not always perfect in the coaching world.”
McIntosh only joined HKFC at the beginning of this season as their DOR, moving from Brisbane where he filled the same role at the University of Queensland Rugby Club.
The 34-year-old has also played and coached at UQ and is eager to test his mettle against Hong Kong’s best, saying that the club will look for a full-time replacement for Bailey at the end of the season.
“I’m really excited. I’m just aiming to keep the train going in the right direction from what Phil has provided for everyone,” he said.
“It’s not just me, it’s the whole squad. The senior leaders within the group have been really standing up and taking control and ownership of what we’re trying to do, which is great.”
There are just five matches remaining before the Old Mutual International Men’s Premiership enters the grand championship play-offs, leaving little time for McIntosh to settle into the role.
Kowloon got within seven points of Football Club in both of their meetings so far this season but the new coach is content focussing on what his side needs to do.
“To be honest, coming back from a break it’s not so much about the opposition, it’s more about ourselves and getting our heads right, getting back to the style of footy we have been trying to play and getting back in the groove,” he said.
This weekend sees the second Super Saturday of the season, with the triple header also pitting Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC against Bloomberg HK Scottish and the Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers against Valley.
In the KPMG Women’s Premiership’s top tier, Valley face Gai Wu and Tigers tackle HKFC, while in the development tier City Sparkle meet Tai Po and CWB Phoenix battle it out with Kowloon.