Thorn's assistants give Reds 'new life'

As Brad Thorn weighs up his future as Queensland Reds coach, star flanker Fraser McReight says his new assistants might help make the decision for him.The Reds will play the Super Rugby Pacific season, beginning next Saturday in Townsville against the Hurricanes, without injured prop Taniela Tupou (Achilles).Fijian forward Peni Ravai has been added to help fill that large void while former Test lock Luke Jones is another key addition.But it's Thorn's fresh sideline eyes that have Wallabies World Cup hopeful McReight buzzing.Former Australia defence coach Phil Blake, University of Queensland's Mick Heenan (attack) and All Black-turned referee Kane Hames (scrums) will complement Thorn's long-time assistant Jim McKay this year."They've mixed really well, the coaches, to bring some new life into the team," McReight told AAP."Specialising in areas they excel … they have different techniques that we can pick and choose from."This was shared by captain Tate McDermott, who believe Blake especially has helped simplify their approach to the game."The big things for us were defence," McDermott told Rugby.com.au."Phil (Blake) has been excellent. He's come in and simplified it…he's a classic leaguie, just been working on those contacts and dual collisions which has been really good for the squad."It's also been more of Jim McKay's role this year around our kicking strategy so making sure we're kicking not always more but when we do, it's effective and it's smart, making sure particularly with the Kiwis, we're putting the ball exactly where we want it in the corner with our defence plan incorporated."This will be Thorn's sixth season in charge, his tenure the longest in more than two decades at Ballymore.The dual international is off contract though and tossing up his future after transitioning straight into coaching from an unparalleled cross-code playing career.It's understood, to provide certainty for both parties, a decision won't be left until season's end.But with the 2023 draw reverting to a traditional mix of games against foreign and domestic rivals from round one, Thorn and the Reds' decision makers will be afforded an early gauge.¬†And McReight is adamant the 2021 domestic champions can put their recent history of woe against New Zealand sides behind them."Everyone's aware of the situation. We want to get results for Thorny," McReight said."There's a higher benchmark we want to achieve and everything will take care of itself in terms of what he wants to do."It's (the split draw) the best thing for us."We think we play similar styles (in Australia) but realistically the Kiwis play a better style; quicker footy, using a bit more skill."Definitely we should have delivered (on our potential) a few years ago, but there's more growth to be had in this squad."Click Here: United Kingdom Rugby Jersey

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