Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles believes Brad Thorn should see out the season as Queensland Reds coach before a likely transition to his assistant Mick Heenan for 2024 and beyond.
Thorn is off contract at the end of the season and Queensland greats Tim Horan and James Horwill believe it could be the dual code legend’s last Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
The Reds are 2-3 following Saturday’s 40-34 loss to the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park.
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But while pressure is building on Thorn, Hoiles doesn’t believe it is the right time to pull the trigger.
“Not based on that performance, they weren’t bad,” the Randwick coach said on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.
“If you are sitting here in four weeks time and they haven’t won another game since… sometimes change in the mid-season doesn’t solve anything, you’ve just got to let it ride its course.
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“Your season is set up by your offseason. Your style of footy and how good you’re going to be is what happens between October and January. Making a change now, you don’t have the training hours to really make significant changes.
“You can make modifications to your game style, but I don’t think you can make holistic changes to your program in the middle of the season when your guys are on and off planes all year round.”
Thorn’s right hand man Heenan is arguably the most successful coach in Hospital Cup history, guiding the University of Queensland to six premierships in his 13 year tenure before joining the Reds this season.
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In appointing Heenan as an assistant, the Reds said he would be “responsible for co-ordinating the Reds coaching program, maximising the development of non-matchday 23 players and emphasising off ball effort areas and attack breakdown.”
Hoiles was interested in observing Heenan interact with the Reds players on Saturday.
“I watched Mick Heenan address the whole side, it looks like he’s got a senior role there,” Hoiles said.
“And to be fair, Mick Heenan isn’t an assistant coach, he has run University of Queensland successfully as a head coach for a long time.
“It looks as though they know who the next person is if it isn’t Brad Thorn…
“I just assumed they prepared themselves for change with who they have brought in.”
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