Moore revelling in newfound freedom

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

A return to Queensland had not crossed Stephen Moore's mind before Sam Cordingley's name popped up on his phone.

Negotiations had stalled with the Brumbies and after hearing the Reds list manager out, Moore started to piece together what life would be like back at Ballymore after a nine year hiatus.

"It was pretty difficult to get a deal done in Canberra, they made it pretty clear where they stood and then the opportunity came up to come here," Moore told

"When it became an option it made a lot of sense, for my family as well but also for my rugby."Stephen Moore will support James Slipper as part of Queensland's leadership group. Photo: WalmsleyIt's understood Moore knocked back offers from several European clubs as well as a two year deal to stay in Canberra to return to where his Super Rugby career began back in 2003.

"To work with a young team environment and somewhere of course that I have played before, it's really helped to push me and my game further," he said.

"To try and come back and have an impact, an influence here, it really was ideal."

Working under Reds captain James Slipper as part of a four-man leadership group, Moore has enjoyed more freedom back in Brisbane without the commitments of being captain of his club side, as well as his country.

The 116-Test Wallaby could become the second most capped Super Rugby player ever in 2017. Photo: Walmsley"We haven’t played a game yet so everything is reasonably positive but it is nice when you get to this stage of your career to have the ability to make sure you are bringing young leaders through the team," he said.

"They form the cornerstone of the team going forward."

Moore was the first of the Reds' big name recruits to sign on for the 2017 season, a clear mark of his belief in what is brewing at Ballymore.

"The formula of bringing older players back and expecting results off the bat - it doesn’t happen like that, that’s not how we’re thinking about it at all," he said.Moore impressed in his return to the Reds jersey in last Tuesday's trial against the Rebels. Photo: Walmsley"If you talk to all the boys that have come back - Quade (Cooper), Scott Higginbotham and George (Smith) as well - they would all say the same thing."

Having played a major part in several successful Brumbies teams and proving a constant presence in the Wallabies fold since 2005, the 34-year-old knows what it takes to establish a pattern of success - something the current crop of Reds crave.

"Coming back to try be a footballer, have an impact on the field and off the field, working with the young players that Queensland always produces, that was the real appeal for me," - Stephen Moore

"Particularly as a front rower with guys like Taniela and Andrew Ready as well, trying to help them reach their potential whilst also trying to improve as a player myself - I think that’s really important and something I was really keen to do.

"You want to leave a mark on places you have been a part of and hopefully I am able to do that here."