Sat 30 Aug 2014 | 09:52
Judge JOC by his on field actions
Sat 30 Aug 2014 | 09:52
Judge JOC by his on field actionsSHARE
Reds coach Richard Graham has called for people to halt their pre-judgments of returning Wallaby backline star James O'Conner who was recently unveiled as a Red.
At the Queensland Reds' Gala ball on Friday, Graham finally revealed the poorly kept secret, that James O'Connor, in a bid to get back into Wallaby contention, had signed on with the Reds along with triple code hopper, Karmichael Hunt.
O'Connor is no doubt a prodigious talent for the Wallabies, but it has been his off field antics that have seen him drop out of favour – eventually leaving the Western Force for a stint in Europe with London Irish and Toulon.
Graham was happy to have such talent join the Reds stating it was a necessary step to bring in some big names.
"We have been holding on to that for a while now, there has been some speculation in the media but it is finally good to announce it tonight," Graham said on revealing his two stars.
"With James [O'Connor], I have a lot of history, I coached him at the Wallabies and I coached him at the Western Force," Graham said.
"I am certainly aware of what he is capable of."
He went on to try an alleviate the minds of the media and fans who were obviously interested to know if O'Connor had matured enough to be a critical cog in the Reds machine.
"James has learnt a lot from his overseas stint," Graham continued
"I have spent a lot of time talking with him – I have history in Europe, having coached there for seven years, and when I have spoken to people I know over there, all of them speak highly of James and his time there.
"People need to judge James by his actions when he arrives, it is very easy to pre-judge him before he arrives.
"I feel he can add strongly to our program."
Graham was just as happy at the prospect of Hunt's ability to add to the program believing it will be an easy switch for the AFL and Rugby League man after he played a season in France.
"Karmichael has a bit of a history with Biarritz where he played effectively a season – 16 games," Graham said.
"Right now I see him as a No.15, but certainly capable of playing in the centres – a No.13 or even as a fly half.
"He played a European cup final as a flyhalf and back in his Rugby League days, he played as a receiver and those skills will translate really well.