Brad Thorn’s selection policy has him on the right track for a Reds resurrection

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    Last week, The Australian ran an article suggesting that the Reds coach Brad Thorn is facing opposition from Rugby Australia about his reluctance to allow Quade Cooper, Karmichael Hunt, James Slipper and Nick Frisby to play in the NRC.

    The article was headlined “Reds get warning on $2m outcasts.

    As someone who has written about Australian rugby for more than 30 years, I would argue that Thorn’s ‘no dickheads’ selection policy for Queensland teams is the way to future success for the Reds, and for the Wallabies.

    If Thorn believes that this policy should be extended to the NRC, where future talent is being nurtured, then Rugby Australia should yield on this issue.

    Wayne Smith, the doyen of Australia’s rugby media, explained the NRC situation this way: “Cooper and Frisby have not played a minute of Super Rugby this season because Reds coach sees no future in them in the Queensland side, preferring to concentrate on the talented next generation of Reds players.”

    As for Hunt, Smith pointed out this: “Once he was arrested for drug possession for a second time, at the end of last year, Queensland lost all interest in him.”

    And Slipper? “As for Slipper… since twice testing positive to cocaine he, too, has become persona non grata at Ballymore.”

    Smith claims that while Rugby Australia has supported the ban against these players playing Super Rugby, it wants them available for the NRC. This tournament is the national showcase while the Wallabies are playing in the Rugby Championship and, he argues, “there is no question the four players would bolster attendances and viewer numbers significantly.”

    Bolstering attendances for a tournament that has limited popular appeal is not the issue. The real issue is whether a group of senior players who have nothing valuable to offer the Reds or the Wallabies, who have lost the support of the coach of the Reds, and rightly so, should be allowed to play in a tournament designed to encourage rising talent.

    At this point, it needs to be stated very strongly that when he became the head coach of the Reds, Brad Thorn inherited a team in disarray and an organisation that was in a shambles. The future of the Reds is in the hands of Thorn and not in the hands of four players who have had their chance and, aside from the glorious year of 2011 for Cooper and Slipper, have wasted it.

    The Queensland Rugby Union has given Thorn its total support, as it should and as it must after the disasters since 2011.

    Brad Thorn

    (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

    Its chairman Jeff Miller, a quality loose forward for the Reds and Wallabies in his day, wants to lock Thorn into a ten-year contract. This is problematic. It is sufficient to say that right now he is right coach for the Reds.

    Thorn has proved in his first Super Rugby season as a head coach, despite the ten losses suffered, that he is on track to restore the Reds to their former glory as one of the great provincial sides in world rugby.

    A lot of media coverage regarding the ban on Quade Cooper has focussed on Brad Thorn’s antagonism to the Wallaby playmaker’s ridiculous baiting of Richie McCaw.

    This was only a small consideration, if any consideration at all, why Thorn dumped Cooper.

    It is sometimes forgotten that Thorn passed up an early chance of becoming an All Black because he wasn’t sure at the time whether he would stay in rugby or return to league.

    This mantra of “team before self” was reinforced by the belief that greatness is not something thrust upon you, a gift from the gods, but a responsibility that had to be worked out, incessantly, to be enhanced and cherished by continual hard work.

    When Thorn came to the Crusaders, he lacked a number of attributes that were needed for him to become a starter for the All Blacks.

    I once asked Robbie Deans, Thorn’s first rugby coach at the Crusaders, why he didn’t play Thorn at number 8, a more natural fit for something coming league to rugby.

    He smiled at me. And rather than replying directly to the question gave me this insight into his thinking. He told me that he spent hours throwing a boot to Thorn and getting him to catch it while jumping higher enough to land on a strong box in front of him.

    And so I worked out the answer to my question. It was more profitable for Thorn and the Crusaders for the former Bronco to concentrate on mastering high lineout skills, teachable skills to someone dedicated to improving his play, than to try to improve his speed (something that couldn’t be taught or learnt) to the level required for a world-class loose forward.

    The All Blacks and Crusaders used Thorn and his background in league to create a new type of second-rower, the power second-rower who made the big tackles, added strength to the scrum shove and was an intimidating figure in the collisions and chaos that is created in play after play in modern rugby.

    And let us not forget that in the final lineout of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, Andrew Hore threw to Thorn who caught the ball and then, using his strength, repulsed a massive shove from the French pack. His steadiness under intense pressure ensured the victory that was probably the most important in All Blacks history.

    If style can be defined as grace under pressure, character can be described as steadiness under pressure. And it is this sense of character that Thorn epitomised as a player, and now looks for in all his players as a coach.

    There is no doubt, too, that this characteristic of steadiness under pressure is one of the keys to a successful sports side.

    England’s football coach, Gareth Southgate, now only the third English manager to take his side in the semi-finals of a World Cup, summed up why his team has been so unexpectedly successful so far in Russia.

    It was all about “discipline” and “resilience”, he noted: “I know those are slightly old-fashioned qualities but we don’t have the right to just stroll around a football pitch. We just play with character and I love that about them.”

    That could be Brad Thorn speaking about what he wants for the Queensland Reds.

    That also could be Thorn explaining why he doesn’t want Cooper, Frisby, Hunt and Slipper.

    After his Reds’ 37–23 victory over the Rebels, Thorn told reporters: “All I asked them was to compete on every play and they did and they got a result. It might not mean much in the overall scheme of the competition, but it means something to us, it means something to Queensland.”

    It was significant that the multi-talented Rebels caved in to the resolute Reds in the last 30 minutes of play, with the scoreline standing 24–23 to the Reds, by conceding a couple of penalties and then a try in the 74th minute of play.

    There is a Russian proverb that has much wisdom embedded in it: “The fox knows many things. The hedgehog knows one big thing.”

    Brad Thorn, as a player and as a coach, knows one big thing about successful rugby teams: they are steady under pressure, on and off the field.

    At the beginning of the season, Thorn selected Cooper and Frisby for his Super Rugby squad. But he quickly realised that neither of them would play in the way he wanted his playmakers to run a game. So within days, he cut both of them loose.

    Thorn explained his decision to Wayne Smith that he wanted his team to play as he used to play: “His teams won’t be flashy or innovative, but they will play for each other and, by God, they will defend as if their lives depended on it … He wanted a five-eighth who would run the game the way, he, Thorn, wanted. In short, he wanted someone he could rely on.”

    Hamish Stewart provided this reliability to the Reds as their five-eighth in their against-the-odds victory over the Rebels.

    With Cooper on the outer, former Wallaby prop Dan Crowley is demanding, too, that Karmichael Hunt leaves rugby, at least rugby in Australia.

    Reds Super Rugby Karmichael Hunt

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Crowley is a brave man who worked as an undercover policeman in the 1980s while playing for the Wallabies. He insists that Hunt must do the right thing.

    Jim Tucker quoted Crowley after Hunt played in a club match for Souths over the weekend, at the invitation of Cooper: “I’m very disappointed Souths have done this when Hunt’s club North did show fortitude to stand up for principles in the game by saying there was no place for him there … there is no place cocaine in sport.”

    Thankfully, Thorn knows well who there should and shouldn’t be a place for at the Reds.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (244)

    • July 9th 2018 @ 7:45am
      Zenn said | July 9th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      The article fails to explain Thorn’s disdain for QC. It is unbelievable that QC could not be used to mentor Hamish Stewart and other backline players. QC has not been associated with cocaine. Los trios amigos was a long time ago.

      KH was charged with an offence relating to improper possession of pharmaceuticals not cocaine.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:32am
        ethan said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        Exactly. I am a big fan of Thorns no dickhead policy, and no cocaine policy, but QC has matured a lot in recent years, so I don’t think he was ruled out on that count (unless Thorn really cannot forgive one or two of Quade’s antics back in his AB days). Also, it is unbelievable QC would be dropped purely on defence. How about Toua? He is even flakier than QC, with far less talent. None of our wingers defend much, while Kerevi has his issues there as well. It is simply not believable QC is a worse rugby player than some of these guys, and furthermore we are light on in depth at 10. As you say, even if you’re not going to pick him, he’d be a great mentor for the other 10’s.

        I can only conclude there must be something more to it that we’re not being told.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 4:52pm
        SAVAGE said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        Some of the posts on here regarding QC. Thorn is the coach, if he doesn’t believe you’re a good fit for what he is trying to achieve……..then you’re not getting picked, end of story, move on.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 7:46am
      Simon said | July 9th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      I do not disagree with your assessment that Hunt and Slipper not be allowed to play NRC as being caught (though not arrested) for using Cocaine needs to be punished. However, neither Cooper nor Frisby have used drugs and other new articles indicate that other Super Rugby teams are interested in at least Cooper so not allowing them to play NRC makes no sense.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:39am
        jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Cooper has chosen not to go to other clubs is how I understand it. The Reds have suggested he stay and work his way in, so that’s what he’s doing. He’s on a good wicket, maybe he just thinks I’ll play out the year then go to Europe or Japan.

        It’s a nice culture there at the Reds though.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 12:22pm
          JP said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

          He was signed for two years by the Qld Reds, so he will still be playing Premier grade for Souths in 2019 and being paid by the QRU. He’s on a good wicket

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2018 @ 8:18am
      Simon Levingston said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Spiro

      Brad Thorn is cleaning up the mess that existed in Queensland. One could argue that he is being too hard on Cooper, Hunt, Slipper and Frisby and the he should get some return on the money being wasted on contract payments to these players.

      I like Brad Thorn’s approach. It is clearly no nonense approach. Team culture is paramount and everyone knows what is expected of them I.e. the team comes first and the individual is second. So if you want to go out and party with your loose mates or you think tackling and putting your body in the line is not for you but for your team mates, then you had better look to play rugby in another state or country.

      It’s all about choices and Brad Thorn is making it very clear what the minimum standard is.

      Nick Phipps is lucky he is not playing rugby in Queensland after what happened at the Woolahra Hotel. Brad Thorn would have shown him the bottom of his boot!

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:48am
        jimbo81 said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        It’s unfortunate that Phipps isn’t playing for the Reds – he would have been sacked years ago for his inability to pass accurately, his delayed extra step service, terrible box kicking, etc – ie: not super level as a halfback. That he is selected ahead of Gordon, who is somehow behind Powell at Wallaby level is a big reflection on Cheika’s selection shortcomings.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 8:30pm
          Mukhtar said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

          Agreed, mate.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:20am
      enoughisenough said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      The trouble with all these words Spiro are that they are just that. From you, from Thorn. Reds defence this year has been abysmal, and for Thorn to apparently say after a couple of training sessions that Frisby and Cooper can’t be coached to run the side the way Thorn wants it run, is taking the easy way out. It says more about his failings as a coach than it does about the players, who have somehow managed to be successfully coached by others. I can bet that if Campo coached a side, he’d be smart enough to know that it wouldn’t do to have clones of himself packing down in the tight 5. Maybe after a decade or so Thorn might gain some smarts to go with his other admirable characteristics, but then again maybe he won’t. And for all the praise for Stewart this year, he’s been poor, as has Lance and the Reds have suffered for it. Mind you the halfbacks haven’t been much good either….

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:40am
        Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        It says more about his failings as a coach than it does about the players, who have somehow managed to be successfully coached by others.

        So the current Aus coach dropped QC…..The Toulon coach dropped QC…The 7s coach did not select him as not good enough….A previous Aus coached dropped QC
        Were all those coaches just showing their own failings? Maybe….. maybe its QC

        • July 9th 2018 @ 11:08am
          enoughisenough said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          Ahh Jacko, don’t let your prejudices get in the way of a good story eh? Fact is his Toulon coach selected Cooper as many times as he selected any other 10 on his roster, that Cheika as recently as last year gave him a start for the Wallabies, despite the position being held by one of his favourites, and that Cooper is clearly a better 10 than either Lance or Stewart, and Frisby better than Lucas or Serevi. But but he was dropped by so and so I hear you wail. Well yeah, but surely even you can comprehend that at various points in time in their careers many fine players have been occasionally dropped for form or fitness reasons. It doesn’t mean that they are no good, except in a simpletons world. But of course you are all for the no d-heads policy eh, so lets see Aaron smith and Julian Savea kicked out of Super Rugby as well shall we. I look forward to seeing you fair mindedly leading the charge to exclude those two for starters…..

          • July 9th 2018 @ 12:25pm
            Reality Check said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            Julian Savea did a far more heinous act than QC but the New Zealanders will go. but but but but but Quade.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 3:40pm
              Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

              Re-think your post RC as Julian Savea has not played for the Abs this year, was dropped last year, and will never play for them again. Also QC was dropped because he is no longer a good player…nothing to do with any off-field antics and i have never claimed it was for anything other than his ability

              • Roar Rookie

                July 10th 2018 @ 6:27pm
                Kirky said | July 10th 2018 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

                Jacko’! Cooper was never a good player ever!! an absolute passenger, someone tell me one game of brilliance he has played!!

              • July 10th 2018 @ 8:06pm
                Jacko said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

                yeah I always referred to him as a poor mans Carlos Spencer…Spencer was about 70% great 30% average……QC was 45% great 30% average and 25% below average…..As an international

              • Roar Pro

                July 12th 2018 @ 10:46pm
                Gishan De Soyza said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

                Jacko, so I’m guessing that what you are trying to say is that everyone else at the Reds now are good players?

          • July 9th 2018 @ 3:37pm
            Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

            Enough the facts are Toulon never offered him a new contract so he had to leave…But ok no probs lets say Toulon loved him…All those other coaches dropped him because they loved him too I presume…I love him too then I guess as I would drop him too…You see it as some sort of bias but it comes down to a very simple thing…he is average…He was good once but now is just a club player and his club is running 3rd in the Brissie comp..He was at the Reds last year…they won 4 games…already this year is better…But you dont pick the team and I certainly dont pick the team so I guess the person who does pick the team agrees with me far more than with you as He isnt selecting QC either…..And now the Reds want Thorn for 10 years…

            • July 9th 2018 @ 3:40pm
              Reality Check said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

              But but but Quade.

            • Roar Guru

              July 10th 2018 @ 7:53am
              Train Without A Station said | July 10th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

              No Jacko, is I pointed out to you already. That’s not facts.

              Cooper was on a 2 year contract with an option in his favour. Toulon didn’t need to offer a contract, he had one.

              • July 10th 2018 @ 8:08pm
                Jacko said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

                Enoughisenough TWAS…Toulon did not offer him a new contract and he was told he was not wanted

              • July 12th 2018 @ 4:00pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | July 12th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

                Hey Jacko,

                And the Reds haven’t offered George Smith a new contract.

                By your amazing feats of “logic” that must mean that Smith is a dud player too.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:42am
        jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        It’s not about the play alone, it’s about culture – a complete no d***heads policy and team first approach. Complete humility.

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 12:50pm
          PeterK said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          I have to say all I have heard quoted from QC (as opposed to others views) he has been humble and self effacing for many years.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 1:01pm
            jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            Yeah comes across that way to me. We’re not close enough to know.

            None of us really knows the reasons.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 3:43pm
              Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              i havnt heard Thorn mention any “No Dickhead” policy…Media mentions it a bit but Thorn has never said it…All I have ever heard Thorn say is he doesnt fit into the way we want to play….

              • Roar Pro

                July 12th 2018 @ 10:50pm
                Gishan De Soyza said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

                If that is the case then based on this years results no one in the squad fits into the way he wants to play. Just pointing out Thorn’s own logic.

          • Roar Guru

            July 10th 2018 @ 5:57am
            taylorman said | July 10th 2018 @ 5:57am | ! Report

            Yes point being that he hasntbeen any good in those years.

            • July 10th 2018 @ 9:59am
              JP said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

              Stop being so fickle.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:23am
      Dave_S said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      “Bolstering attendances for a tournament that has limited popular appeal is not the issue. The real issue is whether a group of senior players who have nothing valuable to offer the Reds or the Wallabies, who have lost the support of the coach of the Reds, and rightly so, should be allowed to play in a tournament designed to encourage rising talent.”

      I am a little confused as to what is supposed to be the selection policy for the NRC. Is it as a SR pathway, for the development of inexperienced players? If so then I’m fine with that, but shouldn’t that mean no SR-contracted players should be selected? (Maybe there should be exceptions for those who have played fewer than say 5 SR games, like Caleb Timu last year).

      I think crowds will come to see just the young players.

      In any case, I can’t see any benefit in, say, Tupou annihilating young LHPs, would they actually learn anything?

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:52am
        Harry said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        In regards to your final paragraph … very definitely YES, young looseheads should be playing in the NRC against Tupou. Tupou was in exactly the same situation as many looseheads last year. And Tupou is still learning the game and the intracicies of tighthead play

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 12:51pm
          PeterK said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          The same for young flyhalfs facing QC then.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 1:10pm
          Dave_S said | July 9th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

          I accidentally deleted a couple of sentences in my original post. The para was to the effect that clearly a young player would benefit in some instances, for eg playing against or alongside say a Rob Simmons or Will Genia. But it wouldn’t necessarily be the case they would benefit, especially if they are just getting ‘schooled’ because they are both physically less mature and very inexperienced – hence the example of Tupou. By way of analogy, would I learn anything from Raffa blasting serves and forehands past me all day? I don’t think so.

          • Roar Guru

            July 9th 2018 @ 2:45pm
            Hoy said | July 9th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

            Well… bit of a difference between you and I, vs someone in the system… you or I getting serves or volleys blasted past us? Lesson lost. A young kid on tour? Immensely important lessons at every point, least of which is the level you need to get to…

            So yeah, these players could only help our players, both in their teams, and also opposition within Australia. Madness to waste the money paying them, and not select them.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 4:04pm
              Dave_S said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

              “Madness to waste the money paying them, and not select them.”

              In the case of Quade et al, mentioned above, I don’t necessarily disagree.

              Was really just musing on the general issue of which level of players should be playing in the NRC.

              At the other extreme, I think it would be a waste of the NRC as a development pathway to fill it more than about 30% with established SR players. We especially need to be developing a new wave of inside backs, the more the better.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 9th 2018 @ 8:51am
      Red Block said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      So Spiro, last time I checked the Reds were listed as second for missed tackles. The reason for Cooper’s exclusion seems to be his lack of technique in defence. So why wouldn’t Brad Thorn as a coach work on this?

      The real reason for Cooper’s exclusion appears to be the style of play that Thorn is promoting. A version of rugby league almost, where big ball carriers bash into line and the ball rarely moves past the inside centre. So the Reds have a ‘low risk’ game plan.

      A ‘high risk’ or ‘let’s just see what happens’ attitude has always been the hallmark of QCs career. The last thing Brad Thorn wants is a player not sticking to the system. This type of free-thinking could infect young minds and lead them off track.

      I’m also not sure where you fit Cooper into the ‘no dickheads’ policy. Ask anyone who has worked with at the Reds or more recently at Souths. He has helped and aided everyone from juniors, colts to womens rugby and even professionals. At the end of every game, he is always the last one off the field. He has time for everyone, hardly an elitist attitude.

      Let’s remember, he captained the Reds against the British and Irish Lions and showed maturity and nous. He narrowly missed a victory that would have cemented his place as a legend.

      That a 70 test veteran of only 30 years of age with plenty to offer when Australia is desperately short of any #10s, smacks of personal grudges and pig headiness from Thorn and McGahan and RA have every right to ask some serious questions about the return they are receiving on their outlay.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:44am
        jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        You don’t know what Cooper’s like in the change room, or on the training paddock, 7 days a week.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 9th 2018 @ 1:31pm
          Sage said | July 9th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          And nor does Spiro know and yet he makes quite a few claims here that aren’t backed with anything. Just his prejudice. The positive attributes as listed by Red Block are witnessed and measurable but ignored. So we end up with a one sided opinionated hatchet job like this poor starry-eyed article.

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 1:36pm
          Train Without A Station said | July 9th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

          Well no. We do know that Cooper has never had weight and conditioning issues like other players, eg. Beale.

          What we know is that every season since at least 2010 he has kept himself in the physical condition you expect from an elite player. So his work ethic must be reasonable.

          • Roar Guru

            July 9th 2018 @ 2:47pm
            Hoy said | July 9th 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

            I have said that previously as well. Whenever he is injured, he has come back in very good physical shape. That takes commitment. In fact, anyone who denies his commitment to his game is completely, off the charts, prejudiced. That is all there is too it.

            • July 10th 2018 @ 8:54am
              Alister said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

              You could say the same for Hunt though. He has never had an issue with looking after himself physically during injury recovery. I am a bit loathe to comment. Thorn was involved with Super Rugby last year as an assistant or a conditioner and was around the squad, so he would know from that which players fit what he was looking for and which don’t. It is strange that the Reds signed an extension for Cooper just after appointing Thorn but within a couple of weeks of that decision a further decision was made to exclude Cooper but perhaps Thorn wasn’t involved in contracting decisions at that point (so early in a coaching career that seems possible though not so bright from the Reds point of view). There appears to be an opportunity for Cooper to play elsewhere and, I imagine, if neither of the Qld NRC teams want to pick him there would be an opportunity for him to go to one of the other teams as well. But he does have a contract with the Reds and i think younger players would benefit from having him about.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 5:53pm
            jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

            That’s not the same thing as being a good influence in the dressing room and fitting into a team culture.

            I personally don’t get why Thorn won’t pick him and if I was coach I would. I see him as a humble guy, and I remember Link saying Cooper was the best implementer of a game strategy he’s ever coached.

            But it is what it is, Thorn says he doesn’t fit in, let’s move on.

            • Roar Guru

              July 9th 2018 @ 6:52pm
              Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 9th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

              ‘Thorn says he doesn’t fit in. Let’s move on’ Jameswm?
              At the moment, it seems to me that the exAB has more proving to prove ‘fitting in’ to the role of coach, than Cooper has to fit into the 10 shirt.
              Spiro, I have always had gratitude and respect for. (He is an excellent rugby historian, and once helped me research my grandfather’s rugby record after WW1).
              However his slip is showing in this piece.
              Once again is a slanderous negativity on a young player, who has no right of reply. He is not there because of the ‘No d-heads’ policy? So by deduction, Quade again is a dhead?
              And Jacko and ilk write in again with helpful wisdom on how to improve the Reds and WBs (and repeat again that Quade is useless, dhead, whatever).
              Talk about a witch hunt.
              Pure unsubstantiated bigotry. Against a bloke who has displayed exceptional behaviour for a number of years on end.
              Spiro, this is not journalism. It is opinion dressed up as fact, and has invited the booers back, with no upside.
              Thorn may be a great coach. But he is yet to prove it, and is far, far from vindicated for his still unexplained exclusion of our $600k playmaker.
              Thorn does not own 25% of the Oz player roster.
              He has been entrusted with it, and the jury is still out, a long way out.

              Of course Cooper should be free to play NRC.
              Cooper isn’t just competing with Foley. There is something strange, dark and unexplained in OZ rugby, and this article by Spiro does nothing to enlighten it.

              • July 9th 2018 @ 7:43pm
                jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

                Yep move on.

                Thorn will be judged in a couple of years. You’ll just have to back him till then.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:50am
        Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        Red Block the only flaw to your arguement is that QC has been offered chances to play at 2 other SR sides and has turned it down…So its not about QC wanting to play and Thorn not letting him its now about QC deciding not to shift so he is playing SR….If he is refusing to move…which he is 100% entitled to do…..then surely it his him and his choices that is stopping him from playing…Thorn is the head coach and as such is also 100% entitled to drop QC….many players dont make squads they had hoped to but most will then try to make a different squad if playing rugby is what they really want to do…QC is surely by now, fully aware he is not in Thorns plans…..So its up to QC as to whether he wants to be a highly paid club player or whether he wants to move to another team and become a SR player again…However its starting to look like the Rebels wont need him and maybe only the Brumbies could use him…..Always his choice tho

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2018 @ 10:52am
          Train Without A Station said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          Thorn is 100% entitled to not select Cooper.

          Legally he may not be entitled to exhile him though.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 4:12pm
            jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            Come on Twas…You know many SR squad members go and play club rugby until called up by the SR side…however if its not legal then I guess QC will take it to court

            • Roar Guru

              July 9th 2018 @ 9:41pm
              Train Without A Station said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

              That’s being not selected.

              Quade is being denied access to Reds training and development by being exiled.

              He’s not training and overlooked. He’s been essentially barred from training and the facilities. That’s what may not be legal.

              • July 10th 2018 @ 8:19pm
                Jacko said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

                Sorry TWAS but many players are bought into a squad from the outer…….And have never trained with them or at their facilities until called up

              • Roar Guru

                July 10th 2018 @ 9:23pm
                Train Without A Station said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

                And?

                Those players aren’t contracted unti then. cooper is.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 9th 2018 @ 11:51am
          Red Block said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

          I agree Jacko, it is his choice.

          However, if he signs with someone else, his Reds contract becomes null and void. At best, he would drop around half a million dollars next year. He has the best gig in the world.

          Quade may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he is not dumb.

          So why then won’t the Reds use him given he:
          – has played 70 tests
          – won a SR title
          – captained Qld on multiple occasions
          – is playing really well for Souths
          – is a better option than any #10 in Qld atm.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 3:52pm
            Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

            Red I think the Reds would still be responsible to ensure he is not financially worse off…..I believe the REDS would need to top up any contract of lesser value but the Aus part of the contract also complicates it I guess….

          • July 9th 2018 @ 5:14pm
            horseflesh said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

            Have a look at this and If it doesn’t get you going then your rugby heart is dead. A great leader and a great team man.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 9th 2018 @ 5:31pm
              piru said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

              We get it Mrs Cooper, calm down

              • July 9th 2018 @ 5:45pm
                horseflesh said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

                Ha ha. Don’t be bitter Piru. Just because you never actually mastered passing to the right.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 9th 2018 @ 6:47pm
                piru said | July 9th 2018 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

                Ahhh Drongo

                should have known

              • Roar Guru

                July 10th 2018 @ 5:48am
                Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 10th 2018 @ 5:48am | ! Report

                Piru, you don’t have to be Coopers mum to see that Thorn has rejected without clear reason one of the Red’s favourite and most talented sons.

                Is there anything intelligent or insightful you would like to add to the debate? Or are you in Spiro’s and Jacko’s camp, with too much intellectual honesty to express it?

              • July 10th 2018 @ 2:07am
                Reality Check said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:07am | ! Report

                Piru, you are playing checkers again, while the rest of us plays chess.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 10th 2018 @ 2:15am
                piru said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:15am | ! Report

                I don’t care

                So Cooper looks good in club rugby, whoop di doo so he should

                Thorn can select him or not, he’s not making the Wallabies regardless with Foley ensconced there so it makes no difference.

              • July 10th 2018 @ 12:58pm
                Reality Check said | July 10th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                I feel like Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in saying

                ” I fear all I have done is to awaken a sleeping giant (in a NFL top) and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

              • Roar Rookie

                July 10th 2018 @ 1:08pm
                piru said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

                ” I fear all I have done is to awaken a sleeping giant (in a NFL top) and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

                More a bored office worker who is ahead of his work and has nothing better to do right now.

                And whilst I appreciate the flattery, I have and will never play NFL – that’s a Gridiron West jersey

            • July 9th 2018 @ 5:41pm
              peter marshall said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              excellent – thanks for digging this up

            • July 9th 2018 @ 5:58pm
              jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

              Great stuff

        • July 9th 2018 @ 11:54am
          jameswm said | July 9th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          Jacko do you know how long is left on Cooper’s Reds/Wallabies contract?

          • July 9th 2018 @ 3:49pm
            Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

            It ends 2019…so a year to run…TBH I did not know they couldnt play NRC…I dont see sense in that ruling but Im not sure what the clauses allow or dont allow in SR contracts

        • July 9th 2018 @ 12:05pm
          One Way Street said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          The QLD Reds are nearly broke and now they are drawing less than 10 k to games as Thorn is coach. The Reds will be insolvent in two years. Once a Australian powerhouse. Now a joke with a rookie New Zealand coach at the helm undermining our Queensland legacy. Interstate infiltraitors and sleepers Sharpe and Cordingley and the dopey Charman Miller can go as well.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 4:23pm
            Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

            QWS the biggest issue QLD rugby has is the fact they keep sacking coaches and coaching staff….They still pay out contracts so its costing them big $$ to pay people who are no longer coaching at the Reds…Do you really think sacking another coach and all his support staff is a good economic decision doing forward?

          • Roar Rookie

            July 10th 2018 @ 8:34pm
            Kirky said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

            owstreet! You must know something that most of us don’t, as I for one can’t remember the Reds ever being an Australian ”Powerhouse!!

            Fill us in mate on what you know!!

        • July 9th 2018 @ 4:30pm
          freddieeffer said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          Jacko, the solution to whether Cooper is or isn’t up to SR standard, can or can’t be coached, or is or is not a dickhead, is this. QC has effectively been made ‘redundant’ by Thorn.

          The QRU and the Reds have not had the balls to simply state this reality, and consequently, man-up and pay his contract out immediately.

          In this way, QC can’t say or intend in be able to say at the conclusion of his playing days, that he was “a Reds man through and through”

          On the other hand, Thorn has backed up his judgement, and released Cooper to be a free agent to other franchises.

          If they want him, do an appropriate deal to get ink on the page. If they don’t, Cooper either plays amateur rugby for Souths or gets offers overseas if they are there…..

          This whole saga would find its own reality check by simply making Cooper redundant and paying him out, which they they have to do in time anyway. Then see what unfolds.

          Either Cooper or Thorn will be vindicated one way or the other.

          • July 9th 2018 @ 6:56pm
            Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

            Fred 100% agree. Cooper has been offered contracts by the Rebels and the Brumbies….Actually not sure on contract re Rebels but they certainly were interested. He chose to turn those down and you cant hold that against him….However because he chose to turn them down he is now not able to blame any one else and has to remain in the current situation…which I certainly dont hear him complaining about …or he finds somewhere else to play at a higher level than Club…I think the Reds are probably hoping some one offers him some $$ so they save that amount off their expences as they will need to make sure that he gets what he is contracted to get meaning they top up any contract worth less than he is on now. …lets facr it Aus rugby needs another decent 10…If QC decides to remain in Brisbane then that is on him…no one else as other opportunities are there but he has decided against that…His choice tho…not someone elses…

            • July 9th 2018 @ 8:09pm
              freddieeffer said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

              QC remains in Brisbane, because his current valid high paying contract has him situated playing under the QRU banner at Souths, Brisbane.

              QC would be nuts to not do that until it expires in 2019 unless he was paid out, then he has to choose his next move.

              In fact, it’s the QRU that are holding QC in Brisbane.

              Pay him out, and make him a free agent, then lets see what happens.

              • July 9th 2018 @ 9:20pm
                Jacko said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

                I cant agree….if you have to pay him for 2 years then either get something back from another club or have him available should the need ever arise like a backs injury crisis

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