Ex-Rugby Southland boss joins management team of Sunshine Coast Lightning

Brian Hopley is leaving Southland rugby to join the Sunshine Coast Lightning netball organisation in Queensland.
Robyn Edie/Stuff
Brian Hopley is leaving Southland rugby to join the Sunshine Coast Lightning netball organisation in Queensland.

Former Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley is returning to Queensland netball.

He has been appointed the general manager performance of the Sunshine Coast Lightning, starting on January 28. His contract is for two years.

Hopley has netball experience having been the Queensland Firebirds' high performance manager for two years in 2010-11.

The Sunshine Coast Lightning is owned by the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Melbourne Storm rugby league organisation.

"I'm really looking forward to it ... the timing is right to move on," Hopley said.

He has been Rugby Southland's general manager twice - March, 2018, to January 2020; and 2011 to 2015. In between stints he was the Samoan Rugby Union's general manager of rugby.

"I've enjoyed it [at Rugby Southland] but it's a tough grind trying to make things work out financially ... that's always going to be a battle for small unions [like Southland]."

One of the changes in club rugby he was pleased to see was increasing the numbers of teams in premier grade last year. It gave more players the opportunity to push their claims for Stags selection.

The loyalty of fans is another part of Southland rugby Hopley will not forget.

"They are more loyal than most."

Rugby Southland has advertised its general manager's position, with applications closing on Monday.

Stuff