Reds coach Brad Thorn. Picture: Getty Images
Reds coach Brad Thorn. Picture: Getty Images

Reds move to secure Thorn for 10-year reign

THE spluttering Queensland Reds are exploring a better alignment with Rugby Australia so Brad Thorn gets the back-up to be a 10-year coach at the club.

Snapping a damning five-season cycle of failure will only be possible with long term-structures not the instability of four head coaches and myriad staff changes over that period.

Queensland Rugby Union chairman Jeff Miller said the alarm bells had been heeded over short-term fixes and pale results since the Reds last made the finals in 2013.

"We want Brad Thorn as a 10-year head coach but it's up to us to create the right high-performance environment for him to want to," Miller said.

 

"We are very supportive of Brad and the cultural change he has brought to the squad with some tough decisions.

"Having a team show strong levels of commitment and pride, as it has done, was a large part of his signing last year.

"It's disappointing the Reds offer so much yet have been up or down and the QRU wants to provide the right support to be consistently better."

Minds are opening to change already.

Miller invited Ireland's high-performance chief David Nucifora to address the QRU board recently and Scotland's director of rugby Scott Johnson is doing the same this week.

Closer ties to Rugby Australia spells "centralisation" and selling out Queensland rugby's autonomy in some minds yet Miller hosed down those inflammatory descriptions.

"You look at New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland and there are very successful alignments between the national and provincial levels for the benefit of both," Miller said.

"One thing Nucifora said was 'don't be afraid of strong alignment'.

"If we keep doing things the same way, we are going to get the same results so we are trying to understand what models are successful for long-term sustainability and the pitfalls."

The QRU's cash-strapped state has triggered a call to Rugby Australia to advance a six-figure sum ahead of the normal payment date of a grant.

"We are still on track to make a small profit this year so that was a request to smooth cash flow when you don't have a home game for four weeks," Miller said.

More coaching assistance from Rugby Australia is one area being investigating through Sam Cordingley, the QRU's general manager of Professional Rugby.

 

Brad Thorn and the Reds are desperate to finish the season on high. Picture: AAP
Brad Thorn and the Reds are desperate to finish the season on high. Picture: AAP

 

Miller said core skills and strength development programs better conveyed from the national set-up to Super Rugby and into the club system made perfect sense.

It dovetails into this week's coaches' summit in Sydney to develop a more cohesive plan to identify rising coaches and better develop them.

"Developing coaches better is definitely in the way forward," Miller said.

"Queensland has been a leader in this area but it is crazy to think of the Australian coaching intellect overseas in (Scotland defensive coach) Matt Taylor, Nucifora, Johnson and others.

"If offloading off the ground and breaking flatline defences, for example, are key areas, you need guys teaching the skills from Rugby Australia down."

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