Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn has agreed to a one-year extension at Ballymore.
The short-term deal was struck with COVID-19 in mind as Rugby Australia still work to determine the format of Super Rugby in 2021 and beyond.
But Thorn, who led the side to this year’s Super Rugby AU final and was unbeaten at Suncorp Stadium this season, will be at the helm for at least a fourth season.
The former All Blacks lock and Queensland State of Origin forward also had a hand in Harry Wilson, Filipo Daugunu and Hunter Paisami debuting for the Wallabies earlier this month.
Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa also returned to the national stage this season after the Reds were rocked by the sudden exits of star Izack Rodda and up-and-coming pair Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings after a messy pay dispute during the competition’s shut down.
Assistant coaches Jim McKay (attack) and Michael Todd (defence) have both signed new deals too, along with the team’s fitness guru Damien Marsh, physiotherapist Gina Nelson and manager Thomas Barker.
Thorn had been coy on a return after losing the Super Rugby AU final to the Brumbies but on Tuesday said it was “an honour” to return.
“I’m very happy to have Jim McKay and Michael Todd by my side again, plus all our team staff for next year too,” Thorn said.
“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 seen a lot of growth in our game this year, but our focus remains on improving and continuing the build.”
Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Dave Hanham said Thorn had instilled “the care and humility to take the team to the next level”.
“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,” he said.
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