The Queensland Reds haven’t experienced much success since the departure of Ewen McKenzie at the end of the 2013 Super Rugby campaign.
Richard Graham (2014-2016), Matt O’Connor (2016), and Nick Stiles (2017) have since taken on the Reds hot seat at each of their respective stints.
None of them have continued to lift the success McKenzie has left within the Maroon spirit.
Instead, the Reds finished on the back half over the past four years in the Vodafone Super Rugby competition they were 13th in 2014 and 2015, 15th in 2016 and 14th in 2017.
Now the Reds have decided to dismiss Stiles and install Dual code-hopper & Past World Cup-winning All Black Brad Thorn as their new head coach for this upcoming Super Rugby campaign.
So what Brad Thorn can do with an aim to revive the Reds spirit?
1. Thorn can translate from his playing experience to communicating with his players
Brad Thorn played a lot of both Rugby League and Union throughout his illustrious 22-year career.
He experienced by winning a Rugby World Cup, five Bledisloe Cups, three Tri-Nations Titles & two Grand Slams with the All Blacks.
He also won a Super Rugby title, two Mitre 10 Cups, a Heineken Cup trophy, three NRL Premierships and two State of Origin triumphs.
Having achieved a lot of silverware throughout his two decades of service in the sport as a player sounds legendary.
He knows how winning a trophy with a team looks like regardless if you’re a player or coach.
Thorn can bring the whole Queensland Reds side as one regarding their cultural vibe that has been missing in the dressing room.
He can also provide the motivation, harsh training methods and has a right eye on youth players.
There’s a huge abundance of players coming through the ranks this season such as Scrum Half James Tuttle (age 21), Fly-half Hamish Stewart (age 20), Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa (age 22) and Outside-Centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (age 24).
2. Thorn can make the Queensland Reds as a free-flowing side having achieved Junior and Provincial Championships for this state.
Having retired from Rugby in 2015, Thorn first worked as the forwards’ coach for Queensland Elite Development Squad.
From there, he helped the Queensland Reds U20 side to two Super U20 Championships in 2016 as an assistant coach and last year as Head Coach.
He was also an assistant coach of the Queensland Country squad in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) in 2016.
But there is more than just success in Thorn’s coaching mantra at the provincial level.
Thorn inherited the Queensland Country squad as Head Coach that was inconsistently poor where they finished 8th for three seasons in a row.
He managed to turn the Country squad from backmarkers to champions when he guided QLD Country to an impressive year by finishing 2nd in the standings and won the NRC Title in the Grand Final last year when they defeated Canberra Vikings 42-28.
So having looked at his impressive coaching stats both within the junior and provincial set-up, Thorn’s leadership as Head Coach within the entire Reds side will be his next challenge to repeat that feat in the same way with Queensland County.
He is doing all his best around the clock day by day with confidence to prove that he’s the man to revive the Ballymore culture back to its golden days.
3. Thorn is strict on discipline and brave on changing in players to select the best squad.
Thorn always wanted to manage his Reds side his way.
There have been a few brave calls to the side at the start of this year when Nick Frisby and Quade Cooper were let go of their contracts.
You may call some of these decisions as harsh or cringe-worthy, but that’s how you want to move forward to help the Reds side back to their best rather than retaining them which could mean a backward step.
Brad Thorn will punish players who are either not match fit, late to training sessions or team meetings.
He doesn’t want to produce a softer side to the Reds squad.
He instead pushes the players as hard as they can so he can assess his best team before game day on which players are in form to start his XV and who is not 100% match fit where they will need to sit on the bench.
Winning 16 out of 62 matches in the last four years looks bleak, and Thorn accepts that his losing streak must change.
That is his ethos when it comes to implementing his coaching philosophy.
I have massive respect for Brad Thorn who brings in his aggressive and fearless approach to stay being active in Rugby not only as a player but as a coach.
He has a rugby-oriented mind with a robust and fearless style of play where we’re most likely going to see the Reds play the game that the fans are expecting throughout this Super Rugby campaign.
It’s been a long time that the Queensland Reds are in dismal form and Thorn must accept the days of turmoil are over and bring back the Ballymore spirit in wanting to win the Super Rugby Championship.
Time will tell as Brad Thorn’s coaching philosophy & stringent disciplinary guidelines could be the answer to the Red’s long-term problems on the field.
References: Image of Brad Thorn is sourced from Wikipedia.