James Slipper’s return from a two-month suspension following a failed drugs test will be a step forward into a ‘murky’ playing future, with Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn taking a hardline stance on drug use.
“I spoke to Brad the week after it all went down and it was clear from that conversation that the future could be murky,” Slipper told reporters.
The two have only spoken once since and Slipper doesn’t want to follow the path of other exiled Reds, Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt, to club rugby but he insisted that leaving the Reds won’t be an easy decision.
“I’d prefer not to be,” he said when asked about leaving.
“Whether I stay or not, it will be tough.
“It’d be tough to go back, it’d be tough to stay and it’d be tough to go.
“Any option would be pretty hard but right now I haven’t really focused on that.”
The 29-year-old prop had only just penned a two-year extension with the Reds months prior but Slipper revealed it was personal circumstances that lead to going down a path of self-destruction.
“I had the [Achilles] injury last year and then I lost someone in the family, that was my first loss,” Slipper said
“Then my mum was diagnosed again so it was a bit of a whirlwind of a few things.
“It was just hard to deal with and by me stuffing up it was pretty hard, because I didn’t want to put that pressure on, especially with mum feeling like she was the reason.
“But the moment I did it was a relief, a ton of weight came of my shoulders.
“I’ve come a long way because of how I’ve opened up to people around me and especially the family.”
Following the hitout against the Wallabies, Slipper will likely return to play the NRC season with Queensland Country before weighing up his options.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.