Brad Thorn knows what success looks like and can help the Reds reach his lofty standards. Picture: AAP
Brad Thorn knows what success looks like and can help the Reds reach his lofty standards. Picture: AAP

Why Thorn can lead the Reds out of despair

THE year was 2005 and Maroons man mountain Brad Thorn was at the Queensland State of Origin team's media session at the Sheraton Hotel in Brisbane.

He was asked a simple question: "When did you start hating New South Wales and why?"

The big fella paused. He looked down, rubbed his chin, looked to the left then turned his gaze towards the journo and thoughtfully and deliberately delivered his heart-felt motivation.

"Growing up, playing in junior rep sides (long pause) they always had better tracksuits than us,'' Thorn said.

"Seriously, they always had fancy adidas or Puma tracksuits and we had plain, no-brand ones with iron-on letters. It really bugged me … but it made it sweeter when we beat them.

"I still loved getting that maroon tracksuit with the iron-on letters though. That's what it was all about, representing Queensland. It's all that mattered.''

And that's one reason why Thorn is the right man to rebuild the Reds.He is professional, prepared and precise with an equal amount of passion for Queensland.

Reds coach Brad Thorn has plenty to ponder as he prepares for the Reds’ Super Rugby campaign. Picture: AAP
Reds coach Brad Thorn has plenty to ponder as he prepares for the Reds’ Super Rugby campaign. Picture: AAP

He bleeds maroon. The same old-school maroon that has thankfully returned to the Reds jersey in 2019.

How many people have represented their state in three codes like Thorn?

He is currently coaching the Queensland rugby union team.

He played 11 Origins for the Maroons.

 

And he was picked in the Queensland primary schools Australian Football side alongside AFL Hall of Famer Michael Voss.

He also enjoyed a glorious rugby career with the Crusaders and the All Blacks - not to mention the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.

He pretty much won wherever he went. He is a pure winner. He brought brawn, brains and an unbreakable spirit.

Two Queensland heroes are reunited at Ballymore.
Two Queensland heroes are reunited at Ballymore.

Thorn's press conference before the 2011 Super Rugby grand final when he was playing for the Crusaders against the Reds was unforgettable.

He spoke so emotionally and eloquently about the impact of the Christchurch earthquake on himself, his family and the community as a whole. It was raw, honest and compelling.

You couldn't help but admire the man regardless of his football ability.

The Reds start their Super Rugby campaign against the Highlanders in New Zealand on Friday and - unlike a vast majority of the trophy-collecting teams that Thorn played in - expectations are not high for Queensland this season.

But that does not mean standards within the four walls at Ballymore won't be set sky high.

Thorn knows no other way. He knows what success looks like. He has lived and breathed it for decades now.

You either buy-in to the culture he is trying to develop or you hit the bricks.

Threaten that culture and you hit the bricks too.

It's the right way or the highway.

And you better have bloody good tracksuits.