A Ram with a Plan

Story by: Rugby Vic Media

Moorabbin have made some big moves this offseason with the appointment of Phil Hazlett as their new first grade coach.

In an offseason that has already delivered some massive movements on the coaching front, the appointment of the former Endeavour Hills assistant coach has certainly captured the attention of many.

We chatted with the man who's Plans for the Rams may just see the Moorabbin men return to their glory years.

Rugby Victoria (RV): You've moved into camp with EH's biggest rivals! What was the reaction from the Eagles faithful once the move became known?

Phil Hazlett (PH): I really enjoyed my time at the Eagles and built some amazing friendships. The reaction from the vast majority has been really supportive and positive. 

RV: A chance to be a Dewar Shield Head Coach must be pretty exciting! What about your coaching journey has given you the confidence to know you can succeed at this level?

PH: I think taking the Eagles on the journey we did, not only installed the belief in the players but within myself. 
I've surrounded myself with some really inspiring people and  coaches who showed faith in my abilities over the past few years. We all have self-doubt, but I believe in working hard but smart, engaging with likeminded people and empowering those people to go do what they are good at. 

RV: You've seen Moorabbin from an outsider's perspective and had them analyse them pretty deeply last season, what was your perception of them as a team? Why couldn't they challenge for the premiership?

PH: I'll be honest, I think the two teams who worked the hardest last year made the Grand Final.
That work started in the off season and continued into the dark, cold and wet Tuesday nights in June and July.
We need to build a buffer in our off and pre seasons to ensure we have the money in the bank come those challenging times. I've made no secret to our players that I think they can work harder, and I've thrown out the challenge to change that.
We want to shift to a high-performance mindset and have a full squad, across seniors and colts, capable of playing multiple positions at Dewar Shield level. 
We've teamed up with Grit Training and we launch the Rams Accelerated Performance Squad on November 22 and the response from the players so far has been really encouraging.

RV: Now that you've had a bit of time on the inside of Moorabbin, what do you appreciate most about the club?

PH: The work done off field is very impressive.
The committee and building a highly engaging and welcoming club wide culture which encourages performance and participation at all levels.
I was impressed with the recruitment and interview process and the pre work has been done to ensure the players and coaches can come in and get to work.

RV: Moorabbin arguably have the most gifted squad of players but haven't been able to get to the Big Dance in recent times - how will you evolve their game in '23 to take them further in the post season?

PH: I've challenged the group to work hard. As a coach I like the details and the challenge of coaching against other coaches, working out a pattern that plays to the groups strengths then building on the skills of the players to execute.

My philosophy has always been to coach what's in front of me - I'm big on including players who are really good at certain roles and at times that means not everyone will agree with what I might see.

At the Eagles, every forward was a ball carrier, but you don't just need ball carriers, so we went and found and developed certain skills in other players. 

I'll be providing opportunities to players who offer excellence in vital aspects of the overall game plan which gives every player the chance to excel and contribute.

As a coaching group we just need to find those players within our group and build the skills. 

RV: Finally, tell us about the identity of a Phil Hazlett coached team. How would one of your players sum you up as a coach?

PH: I'd like the identity to be based on hard work, ownership and teamwork. 

I'd like to think they would say I'm fair, hardworking, dedicated and hopefully funny!