Could coronavirus open door for Kerevi's loan to Reds?

Fri, 13/03/2020, 05:27 am
Emma Greenwood
by Emma Greenwood
Thorn Grab on Samu Kerevi

The Reds have not slammed the door shut on an SOS to former captain Samu Kerevi in the wake of Japan’s Top League shutdown for March.

Kerevi, who plays for the Suntory Sungoliath, is in Brisbane training after matches in Japan were cancelled until the end of the month due to a player’s arrest for using drugs, a ban that followed an earlier suspension of fixtures due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Kerevi signed a three-year deal with Suntory but if the Top League season is cancelled completely, he may be available for a loan stint for the Reds.

Quizzed on the possibility of regaining Kerevi during a media conference ahead of the Reds’ game against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, Queensland coach Brad Thorn seemed slightly amused but did not shut down the idea of sending his former captain an SOS.

"It's actually a good idea,” Thorn said.

"I'm not sure what's going on there, he's obviously contracted over there but we've had a few injuries around that spot. Samu if you're watching …

“We're just doing what we're doing at the moment but that's interesting (that he’s here).”

The speculation comes in the wake of reports former rugby league star Jordan Rapana, who signed a short-term contract with Top League side Panasonic Wild Knights under Robbie Deans, could return to the NRL with the Canberra Raiders.

News Corp quoted Rapana’s manager Sam Ayoub saying his player would like to return to the Raiders if competition is stopped in Japan.

It could be an avenue for Kerevi too, although the Queensland Rugby Union are reportedly refusing to deal with his manager, Anthony Picone and negotiating directly with his players.

Whether the Super Rugby season progresses is in question too given fears around the spread of coronavirus, especially with the large amount of international travel required by teams.

Sunday’s clash between the Jaguares and Highlanders will be played behind closed doors and with government advice to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people to take effect from Monday, any games after the weekend are likely to be played behind closed doors anyway.

Thorn said if forced to play in an empty stadium the Reds would just focus on getting the job done.

“But it'd be nice to have our fans,” he said.

"We've had four away games and it'd be nice to have our crowd there cheering us on and bringing that pressure as well.

"We've done a lot of work around connecting with our supporters, going around the state, had trial games in country areas and it's been really important to us.

"It would be very disappointing not to have fans there but there's a global situation and that's just what it is and so be it. It's around health and (other) people are in control of that, it's not in my hands.”

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