The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has today announced Brad Thorn has re-signed as the St.George Queensland Reds head coach.
After guiding Queensland to their first Grand Final in nine years, Thorn inked a one-year contract extension that will see him remain at Ballymore through 2021.
In addition, Thorn's support staff has also recommitted with assistant coaches Jim McKay (attack) and Michael Todd (defence), Damian Marsh (Athletic Performance Manager), Gina Nelson (Team Physiotherapist) and Thomas Barker (Team Manager) all recommitting for next season.
QRU CEO David Hanham said: “We're pleased to have Brad and several of our key staff remain at Ballymore.
"In an ideal world we would’ve liked to do a longer deal with the coaching team, but due to all of the uncertainty the coaching staff and Board have agreed that the initial extension should be for 12 months, with a review once there is certainty on the broadcast and competition structure for 2022.
"We made a decision five years ago that led to investing and rebuilding our football academy and connecting to our club and school talent pathways in Queensland. We knew Queensland had the talent, we just needed time.
"We made a commitment to invest in quality coaching to develop our players, building a deeper connection to Queensland and ensuring we delivered continual improvement across our four key pillars of development, stability, culture and connection.
“We want sustained long-term success, achieving finals footy year-on-year. You've got to build a strong foundation and that's what Brad and the team has done.
"Brad has nurtured a group of players through those moments over the last five years ensuring the players have the care and humility to take our team to the next level,” said Hanham.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “I’m honoured to be staying on with the club.
“I’m very happy to have Jim McKay and Michael Todd by my side again, plus all our team staff for next year too.
“We’ve invested in our pathway in bringing guys through. It’s good to have a consistent squad with minimal changes for next year. They’re all mates and you’re seeing that connection out on the field.
“We’ve reconnected with the state and the Queensland Rugby community. We’ve seen a lot of growth in our game this year, but our focus remains on improving and continuing the build. We are looking forward to the challenge ahead in 2021,” said Thorn.
Reds General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “The efforts that have been made by Brad and the Reds staff have been enormous, particularly during this COVID season.
“We are seeing the benefits of cohesion both within the playing group and staff and we’re looking forward to more growth in 2021.”
Thorn will enter his fourth year as Queensland head coach in 2021 following a standout season for the Reds.
In a challenging year with COVID-19, the 45-year-old guided the group through strict bio-security restrictions, player and staff pay-cuts, player departures, two separate pre-seasons and a tough travel schedule which the team both adapted to and embraced.
Under Thorn in 2020, Queensland won their most amount of games since 2013 and remained unbeaten at home throughout the entire Super Rugby AU season which culminated with their first Grand Final appearance in nine years.
Following two decades of unparalleled success as a player at the elite level, Thorn joined the QRU in late 2015 as a Development Squad forwards coach and has been at Ballymore for the duration of his coaching career.
Thorn guided the Queensland U20s to two Super U20 Championship titles; as an assistant coach in 2016 and as head coach in an undefeated 2017 season.
He was also assistant coach of Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) in 2016 and then head coach the following year when Country claimed the title.
Thorn and his support staff are currently preparing the Reds for next month’s pre-season ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season.