Sharpe optimistic about Reds' and Graham's future

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman
Former Wallaby and Queensland Red Nathan Sharpe says the replacement of Richard Graham will give the club and the man a chance to move on.

Sharpe said it had been difficult to watch his former Force coach go through the scrutiny he has in recent months but believed Monday’s decision would be in the best interests of everyone involved.

“Richard’s a guy who is very proud and he prides himself on integrity,” he said.

“It wouldn’t have been a very easy decision for him to be involved in.

“He’ll get an opportunity somewhere else and the adversity he’s been through, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

“It was hard to watch from the outside but now hopefully the Reds can move on and Richard can move on and hopefully have a bit of a happier time.”

Sharpe said while the decision would have been painful, it was unlikely to be a surprise for Graham and the move could almost have brought relief.

“I think Richard knew that he needed to perform quickly because in professional sport, you only get so much of a honeymoon period,” he said.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened in sport, it won’t be the last time.

“It takes a special kind of person to be coach, you need to have faith in the process when all around you it’s potentially very hard.

“It was a hard year for Richard I would imagine in some ways there’s a bit of relief around the decision for him.”

Sharpe is a former teammate of incoming co-coach Nick Stiles and said the former Queensland Red would be a good fit in the interim.

“He understands what motivates players and also the rigours of Super Rugby and he’s an intelligent coach as well,” he said.

“He gives players accountability to get the job done (and) that’s an important function in all high performing teams.”

Sharpe said he was confident the Reds would be able to pull themselves out of their recent slump in the months and years to come.

“There’s no doubt about it (they can improve),” he said.

“There needs to be focus on the long term - they've got tremendously talented youngsters and they need to harness and develop them through the right channels.

“They’re going to be a very strong team and get back to that and get back to playing consistently good football.

The Reds travel to Melbourne to take on the Rebels on Saturday night, searching for their first 2016 win.