Coach hunt critical for Reds’ Cooper bid

They’ve just locked in their new chief executive – now it’s a question of getting the right coach if the Queensland Reds hope to lure Quade Cooper back to the Super Rugby club.

Radio industry boss Richard Barker was named on Thursday as the new CEO of the Queensland Rugby Union.

Barker – a former captain of the Queensland Country team in the mid-1980s – will replace departed Jim Carmichael within the next six to eight weeks.

By that time the Reds are also hoping to have confirmed who’ll take over the Reds’ coaching role, with Matt O’Connor and Nick Stiles sharing the position in an interim basis since Richard Graham’s sacking in March.

Barker is expected to have some say in who gets the nod as coach but QRU chairman Damien Frawley said a panel appointed to assist in the search will play the major role.

Frawley says finding the right man for the position will be critical to ensuring the Reds can attract major targets such as Cooper.

“The things that attract players are you’ve got a good coach, you’ve got a good list and you’ve got good people around them that they want to play with,” Frawley said.

“Do players get that concerned by what happens up here in this building? I doubt it.”

Barker’s first task will be to steady the ship at Ballymore, where there have been up to eight recent redundancies.

Frawley admitted there had been a major drop in revenue at the Reds, with home crowd averages down and a loss of $1.48 million posted last year.

“I know there’s a lot of loyalty that we can build upon,” Barker said.

“There’s a lot of things that are happening, but if we can get them all aligned, then the results will come.

“Communication to the members is important and giving them some news which is going to keep them coming back is important … there’s a lot of things we can do to increase and strengthen that relationship.”

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