Richard Graham has vowed to fight to remain Queensland Reds coach after being told he must re-apply for his job.
The Reds are expected to appoint their head coach in the next fortnight following the completion of a Queensland Rugby Union review, which recommended the roles of head coach, attack coach and defence coach be opened to new applicants.
Graham told AAP on Wednesday he would bid to stay in the top job.
“I am fully across the review findings and intend to be a part of the process for the role of head coach,” Graham said.
A committee will be formed to select candidates for the coaching roles following what the QRU described as an “exhaustive” assessment of the local and international market.
However, speculation is mounting that Graham will be re-installed despite a woefully unsuccessful period at the helm of the embattled Super Rugby franchise.
Graham has a dreadful 28 per cent winning percentage in Super Rugby, having guided the Western Force to seven wins in 24 games and the Reds to just nine wins across nearly three seasons.
If Graham were to be kept on, it would fly in the face of consistent rumours of player discontent and also disillusion among supporters.
Reds crowds have more than halved from 44,490 in their 2011 championship season to just 20,199 this year.
Last season the Reds finished fourth from bottom and have lost three of their most marketable names in Quade Cooper, Will Genia and James Horwill.
Test hooker James Hanson and former All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson have also departed for the Melbourne Rebels and there were reports that Liam Gill, who has re-signed with Queensland for another year, was to leave if Graham was retained.
Queensland cannot progress with their own recruiting plans until a head coach is installed.
Whoever that head coach turns out to be, they will be answerable to a general manager of high performance, a position that will be elevated in the QRU’s hierarchy as recommended by the review.
Nick Stiles, who was re-signed as senior assistant coach as another outcome of the review, is reportedly in contention for the head coach position along with Morgan Turinui, Matt Taylor, Matt O’Connor and John Mulvihill.
The review has already prompted the Reds to appoint cross-code legend Brad Thorn as a forwards development coach, Damian Marsh as head of athletic performance and Cameron Lillicrap as head physio.