The door isn't entirely shut on Quade Cooper, but Brad Thorn says it will take an unprecedented injury crisis for him to play Super Rugby this season for Queensland.
Speaking publicly for the first time about his "tough" decision to move on fan favourite Cooper, Thorn said the Reds would not stand in his way if he found a new club.
The former Wallabies' five-eighth still has two more years to run on his Reds' contract but was told late last year by Thorn his services wouldn't be required in 2018.
The 29-year-old has not trained with the Reds since and, unless another team from overseas comes calling, he's likely to play out the season in Brisbane club rugby.
"It's just a change of direction," Thorn told reporters on Thursday."I thought Quade last year... the team struggled, his game management, his attack, his defence (struggled).
"I'm in this role - sometimes you've got to make tough decisions."
Thorn said letting Cooper take up another contract was "the least we could do" for such a loyal clubman.
"I played against him as a Crusader, as an All Black. He's played over 100 games for this club - he's had success here," he said.
"He's a guy who's served this club really well."Respect to the guy, but we're just going in a different way."
Asked if there was any way Cooper could change his mind, or if he would turn back to him if injuries struck down his other playmaking options, Thorn said: "We're doing what we're doing now. But he's part of the squad.
"He'll be trying his best with his club rugby and it's a tough old season, isn't it?
"At the moment, we've got some depth around that position - Hamish Stewart coming through, Jono Lance, Ben Lucas can play there.
"There's a bit of stuff there.
"It's competitive, which is what I'm getting a little bit excited about - I'm liking the competition in most positions and I feel like maybe that hasn't been here."The Reds will play an internal trial at Ballymore on Friday afternoon, kicking off at 5:15pm AEST.