Reds alert: Massive changes sees Quade, Frisby out
QUADE Cooper has played his last game for the Queensland Reds after the shock call from coach Brad Thorn that he is no longer rated the top flyhalf option for next season.
The tremors of a cleanout at Ballymore have kept coming with 2016 Wallaby Nick Frisby also told he has tumbled down the pecking order at halfback at the club.
Both senior Reds are expected to canvas options at new clubs overseas.
Cooper, the 70-Test playmaker, is likely to seek a future in Japan now he is unwanted in the revival plans being hatched by Thorn at the long-struggling Super Rugby club which won just four times this season.
Thorn has had a heart-to-heart with Cooper, 29, who had expected to be part of the full-scale return to training by the remodelled Reds squad on Monday.
"I've had honest conversations with Quade Cooper and Nick Frisby about where they currently sit in our plans for 2018," Thorn said.
"They're not training with the Reds at the moment and will be training with their clubs instead," Thorn said.
It appears Thorn has made the big call that youngster Hamish Stewart and Duncan Paia'aua are his preferred No.10 options instead of Cooper for next season.
Cooper's career with the Wallabies already appears at an end with coach Michael Cheika not picking the skilful game-manager in any squad since his last Test off the bench against Italy in Brisbane in late June.
Cheika has made the decision to move on from Cooper and it appears the Reds have followed suit.
It is a staggering development considering the somersaults that the Reds went through to lure Cooper back from French club Toulon in 2015 on a three-year deal.
Cooper has two seasons to run on his Reds deal, the biggest on the books at the cash-strapped Super Rugby club.
It is only guesswork but to escape the hurt of paying out the two remaining years of his contract, it would seem logical that Cooper be able to canvas another overseas playing option.
Cooper played 12 times for the Reds this year. He was at his vintage best only spasmodically, as in the fine display against the Sunwolves, but always expected to be in better form next season after getting back in the groove after being lightly used by Toulon.
It would be the end of an era for the playmaker behind the Reds' memorable 2011 Super Rugby title.
Cooper is the biggest name in Queensland rugby, a fan favourite and devoted to the Reds cause.
Frisby, 25, had a season he'd like to forget. He lost his love of rugby and then-coach Nick Stiles removed him from the Reds training group for a period so he could rekindle his fire for the game at his GPS club.
Treading water for the season gave James Tuttle the chance to jump ahead in the pecking order at No.9.
Tuttle was also Thorn's general at halfback in Queensland Country's triumph in the National Rugby Championship so the Reds boss is backing the players who have excelled for him as is the case with Paia'aua and Stewart.
The Reds have Tuttle, long-haired Tate McDermott, Moses Sorovi and Frisby on the books as halfbacks so some realignment was always on the cards.
The Frisby situation is crazy when you consider this year's constant theme that it was too hard to find a way to re-sign champion Wallaby Will Genia.
The commitment to Frisby's three-year deal was always cited as the reason it was impossible to make a Genia acquisition work even if the halfback was super-keen to return to his home state.
Genia signed with the Melbourne Rebels instead and will be a thorn in the Reds' side as quickly as the opening round of Super Rugby in February.