Thorn accepts final Reds 'mission' after Blues loss

Sun, May 21, 2023, 9:33 AM
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP

Brad Thorn says he was born ready for a testing fortnight that will determine how he leaves the Queensland Reds after five years in charge.

The Reds' 45-26 loss to the Blues at Suncorp Stadium left the coach smarting in what was his final game in charge at the venue he's known for more than three decades across two codes.

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It followed their historic win against the Chiefs in New Zealand and left the side teetering in seventh, just six points clear of ninth and in danger of missing finals.

"Really disappointing," the Reds coach said.

"It was tight at halftime (down 17-14), had opportunities and errors hurt us and if you give them opportunities they hurt us.

"You only get so many chances against good sides."

Thorn has opted not to continue as coach next season, with games against the Highlanders (3-8) in Dunedin and Fijian Drua (4-7) to determine their fate.

It's the Drua sitting in ninth ahead of Saturday's date with the Waratahs, the second-year club looming as a tricky proposition should a finals spot be on the line in the last game of the regular season in Suva on June 3.

Thorn gave little thought to the occasion on Friday night, in what could be his final time in charge of a team at the ground he called home with the Broncos in the NRL.

"It's not sort of how I think," the dual international said.

"For me, it's each week, each mission, trying to get a result.

"We've got two more games to get our game together and we've got some work to do. It's in front of us.

"I came out of the womb a competitor."

The Reds will hope James O'Connor (concussion) will travel to face the Highlanders, while Hunter Paisami (knee) is a chance of bolstering their midfield in the final round.

Co-captain Liam Wright has found his best form in recent weeks and will ensure he's a menace at the breakdown at Forsyth Barr Stadium next Friday.

"It's going to test the heart of our whole squad," Wright said of their top-eight pursuit.

"We get to bond, knuckle down on our game plan and really fight for each other and for Queensland."

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