Thorn to draw on past mentors

Fri, 27/11/2015, 01:00 am
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman

All Blacks veteran Brad Thorn has played under some legendary coaches in his career across two rugby codes and he’ll be drawing on one in particular as he embarks on full-time coaching.

Back home in Brisbane after eight years overseas, Thorn will be overlooking the Reds' developing forwards in 2016.

Thorn said he would be drawing on the lessons he learned from rugby league master coach Wayne Bennett during almost a decade at the Brisbane Broncos.

“Many good coaches I¹ve been part of,” he said.

“Wayne Bennett - I had him from 17/18 years of age.

“When I came back from rugby, I finished under him at 32.

“I had a decade of his coaching so he was probably a big influence on me.

While he hasn¹t bumped into his former mentor since returning to Brisbane, Thorn said he has a wealth of experience on which to draw.

“I got 10 years of tips, they were pretty direct as well,” he said.

“I’m sure if I saw him it would be nice to have a chat.

“I’m lucky to have guys like Richard and Nick Stiles and my little team...I'm always open to listening and learning. "

With new Reds lock Kane Douglas out for most, if not all, of the 2016 Super Rugby season, the speculation that Thorn could don a Reds jersey in 2016 has intensified, and Thorn hedged his bets when addressing the possibility on Thursday.

The 40-year-old, who would be 41 by the time the Super Rugby season kicks-off, said he was yet to officially retire from the sport and would be willing to step in if the club was in ‘dire straits’.

There’s always an urge,” he said.

“I actually said I didn’t actually retire, I’m just playing less now.”

“To be fair, at the minute, I’m just focused on my coaching role here and working with the developing players coming through and I’m really enjoying that role.

“It’s not something that¹s heavily on my mind.

“If things got in dire straits, I'm happy to help out any way I can but I think things are under control at the moment.”

“I’ve got my role and what I¹m doing here so at the moment I don't have boots on.”

It wouldn¹t be the first time Thorn has juggled a playing and coaching role, having worked with the Highlanders strength and conditioning team, while also dabbling in coaching during a Japanese stint.

Thorn has his own cult hero among his new charges, with Taniela Tupou, dubbed Tongan Thor, in the Reds development squad this season.

“I’ve seen the footage and he’s a bit of a brute, beast isn't he,” Thorn said.

“He’s a young man trying to learn his craft.. I'm sure there’s going to be a great journey in front of him.

“If I can be a part of assisting in reaching his potential, playing for the Wallabies or whatever, then I look forward to working with him.”

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