Former All Black and now Reds head coach Brad Thorn has explained why he has signed James O'Connor despite his troubles in the past and why his situation is different from that of James Slipper and Karmichael Hunt.
Thorn had to be convinced O'Connor's desire to make amends at Queensland was genuine before a two-year contract was confirmed. The former All Black lock had already let Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper go after issues with cocaine issues while Quade Cooper also headed south after Thorn deemed the maverick playmaker did not fit his cultural revolution.
"It was an interesting one ..." Thorn confessed.
"I'd never met James outside playing against him.
"I knew he was a good footballer but perhaps I hadn't heard the best reports in the past."
After the pair, O'Connor, who had a frustrating season-long homecoming in 2015, was then grilled by Thorn's fellow coaches and the Queensland board.
"We talked about footy, we talked about life and probably the thing that impressed me the most was he didn't shy away from hard questions," Thorn said.
"We were pretty direct and there was no shuffling or anything. When you see a guy front, talk through things and look you in the eye it's a positive thing."
The Full interview: