The Courier-Mail

Kiwi keen to stay but Quade will be the key

- JIM TUCKER

FORMER All Blacks backrower Adam Thomson has given the Reds a major lift by declaring he’d love to sign on for a second season despite this year’s shabby results.

It was initially portrayed that Thomson, 33, was in Brisbane for a hit-and-run campaign of one season before heading back to Japanese club Canon Eagles.

“If I’m wanted, I’m definitely available for a second season at the Reds,” Thomson said. “When I first arrived in Brisbane I said I was at the stage of my career to enjoy new challenges.

“It’s testament to a great bunch of guys at the Reds that I want to come back to a good city, where the sun’s shining, even when I’m getting on in years.”

Thomson hasn’t been idle on days off with a roaming streak to explore the coast from Byron Bay to Noosa with spearfishi­ng in Moreton Bay in between.

“Not getting the results this year is frustratin­g but it’s a really close group of players with a lot of new faces who will keep on improving,” Thomson said.

Flanker Thomson has hit his stride in the second half of the season in the running, linkman role he plays so well on top of leading the team’s tackle stats.

His first real chance to revel off the playmaking of Quade Cooper in Perth last Friday has him excited about the Reds’ chances against the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

“No disrespect to the younger guys and their promising job at No.10 this season but they are starting out and every game is learning for them,” Thomson said.

“With Quade you get someone who tells the team exactly what he wants and how he wants to attack.”

Ironically, Thomson’s place at the Reds is inextricab­ly linked to whether Cooper stays at the Reds to enjoy his new $1.8 million Brisbane home or takes up his deal with French club Toulon.

If Cooper departs, the Reds will almost certainly be forced to shop overseas for an experience­d import to play flyhalf next year. With only one marquee import per team, Thomson would be the casualty of that scenario.

Reds skipper James Slipper said beating the Chiefs to win back-to-back games for the first time this season was a major target.

“It’s a last game at Suncorp Stadium as Reds players for James Horwill and Will Genia and it would be nice to send them out winners,” Slipper said. “Both have played more than 100 games which is a big achievemen­t.

“Quade gave really good direction against the Western Force. The forwards did the job for that to happen by winning the collisions and that’s where it has to start again against the Chiefs.”

Centre Karmichael Hunt’s knee ligament tweak is the only injury concern of the week.

 ??  ?? KEY COMBO: Adam Thomson and Quade Cooper in action against the Force.
KEY COMBO: Adam Thomson and Quade Cooper in action against the Force.

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