Cross-code warrior Brad Thorn hasn’t ruled out strapping on the boots for the Queensland Reds next season, saying he still has the “urge” to play again.
Thorn, 40, has joined the Reds as a development coach for their up-and-coming forwards but speculation is mounting he could sign on as an emergency back-up for injured Wallabies second-rower Kane Douglas, who is likely to miss the entire Super Rugby season.
The Reds have two quality starting locks in Rob Simmons and new recruit Caydern Neville, but little depth following Douglas’ injury in the Wallabies’ World Cup final loss to New Zealand.
Thorn only recently completed what was thought to be his last season for English rugby union club Leicester midway through 2015, but it wouldn’t be beyond the former All Black to extend his professional career into an incredible 23rd year.
“There’s always an urge. I didn’t actually retire – I’m just playing less now,” Thorn told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
“If things were like dire straits, I’m happy to help out any way I can, but I think things are under control at the moment.
“I feel okay, but like I said, it’s not something that’s heavily on my mind at the moment.”
Reds coach Richard Graham dismissed the talk as “just rumours” two days earlier, saying: “Right at this time, I can definitely rule out signing him as a player, because we’ve signed him as a coach.”
Thorn sounded rather more excited about his new role, which will see him offer his experience and advice to the young forwards in Queensland’s elite development squad.
Whether it is the first step on the way to an eventual career as a head coach depends on how much Thorn enjoys it.
“I’m not really sure,” he said.
“For me this is just another step forward with it, having a bit more of a taste for it, seeing if I can contribute well and if I enjoy it.
“You have a look at things later on down the track.
“It’s just great seeing their enthusiasm, going back to when I came through you’re just keen to get out there and learn and improve.
“For me it’s really nice to be part of that. It’s a good group of lads.”