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Michael Hagan (born 16 August 1964) is an Australian former rugby league footballer and coach. A Queensland State of Origin representative half, he played his club football in Australia with Canterbury Bankstown (with whom he won the 1988 and 1985 premierships) and Newcastle (whom he captained), and in England with Halifax and Huddersfield. He went on to have a successful coaching career with Newcastle (winning the premiership with them in 2001) and Parramatta, and was also selected to coach the Queensland Maroons for two State of Origin series.

Playing career

The younger brother of former Test centre Bob Hagan, Hagan was graded with Canterbury in 1983. Although best suited to play at five-eighth or halfback, the presence of Terry Lamb and Steve Mortimer forced Hagan to play much of his career with Canterbury as a "fill in" at fullback or lock forward. Hagan played a role filling in for Lamb in Canterbury's upset win in the 1985 grand final.

In 1988 Hagan was injured in a car crash but recovered to play in Canterbury's three finals, scoring a try in the grand final. With Mortimer retiring, Hagan might have had a chance for a permanent position in the halves, but by this time he had already decided to move to Newcastlemarker where he signed with the Knights.

Hagan's craft and guile at five-eighth led to a rapid rise in the Knights' fortunes: they advanced from fourteenth to sixth (losing a play-off for fifth) in two seasons between 1988 and 1990. He took over Newcastle's captaincy in early 1990 and, despite fluctuating team fortunes and being moved to the less suitable centre position to accommodate the emerging Matthew Johns in his last season, finished his career with the record of having not missed a match in five season with the Knights.

Hagan also played 92 games for Halifax RLFC in 1984-1985 and 1993-1995. During his career with Newcastle, Hagan played five State of Origin games for Queensland, deputising for Allan Langer in 1989.

Coaching career

Hagan was the media manager for the Hunter Mariners during the Super League war in Australia, and subsequently joined the coaching staff with Mal Meninga at the Canberra Raiders, coaching the President's Cup team in 1998 and First Division in 1999.

In 2000 Hagan became the first division coach at the Newcastle Knights, and succeeded Warren Ryan as coach in 2001. He became the first former Knights player to coach the club, and later that season became the first coach since Phil Gould to win the premiership in his first season.

Hagan coached the Queensland State of Origin team in 2004 and 2005. Although he was unable to win a series, in both seasons the series went to a deciding game, only for the Maroons to lose. Hagan resigned as Queensland coach in 2005 to concentrate on coaching the Knights given their poor season in which they finished at the foot of the ladder for the first time in the club's history.

In 2005, after losing their first thirteen games of the season, the Knights finished with the wooden spoon. In early 2006, Hagan signed a contract to coach the Parramatta Eels from 2007 to 2009, finishing his tenure at Newcastle at the end of the 2006 season. He is the longest serving coach in Knights history, and guided the Knights to finals appearances in four of his six seasons, more than any other coach in the team's history. Michael Hagan ended his head coaching role at the Parramatta Eels citing family reasons and health.

Jason Taylor incident

After a match between Hagan's Eels and former Eels mentor Jason Taylor's Rabbitohs, won by the Eels 18-12, Hagan was involved in a post-match altercation with the former Eels halfback. Taylor claimed that Hagan had stuffed up what was on offer at Parramatta, and former Eels coach Brian Smith had fixed up "what Hagan had f---ed up at Newcastle". Taylor also challenged Hagan to win games without Andrew Johns. Hagan said: "At least we won without Joey".

The Daily Telegraph

Hagan has made journalistic contributions to 'League Central' section of the The Daily Telegraph. He provides his opnions on current League issues as well as evaluating team form and performances.

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