Former Wallabies coach John Connolly (left) has been awarded $150,000 in damages from the Queensland Rugby Union.
Former Wallabies coach John Connolly (left) has been awarded $150,000 in damages from the Queensland Rugby Union. DARREN ENGLAND

Councillor's big win against Reds rugby

SUNSHINE Coast councillor and former Wallabies coach John Connolly has won $150,000 from the Queensland Rugby Union in damages.

After a loss to the Crusaders rugby team in Christchurch that the QRU chairman Rod McCall described as "fairly diabolical", Mr Connolly was employed as a coaching consultant for the Queensland Reds in May 2015.

The Brisbane District Court heard Mr McCall had over the phone offered Mr Connolly $3000 a week as a coaching contractor for the 2015 and 2016 Super Rugby seasons.

The court heard Mr Connolly had initially signed an employment contract with the Reds, but was given a consultant contract after he complained.

But he returned that contract because it included termination clauses that Mr Connolly had not agreed to.

But none of the contracts had been signed by both Mr Connolly and QRU representatives.

At the end of a poor on-field 2015 season, a review into the Reds coaching recommended Mr Connolly's employment be terminated.

Mr Connolly claimed this was in breach of the oral contract he had with Mr McCall.

Judge Ian Dearden found none of the written contracts between Mr Connolly and the QRU was operative because none was signed by both parties.

"I am satisfied that although Mr Connolly signed the written employment contract, he immediately sought to indicate to QRU that he did not wish to be bound by it. Conversely, QRU did not take any practical steps to put the employment contract into operation," he said.

"I find that an oral contract was entered between Rod McCall and John Connolly on 9 May, 2015.

"That oral contract was not replaced or subsumed by the QRU employee contract, the first QRU contractor's agreement, or the second QRU contractor's agreement. That oral contract did not contain any termination provision, express or inferred."

The court ordered the QRU pay Mr Connolly $150,000. The court will rule on costs at a later date.

Mr Connolly declined to comment. 

- NewsRegional

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