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O’Connor ready to shine on Reds wing

Star recruit James O’Connor feels ready to show his true wares and it’s likely to be in his favoured position as the embattled Queensland Reds welcome back a host of players.


O’Connor has overcome a calf injury ahead of Friday night’s clash with the Lions at Suncorp Stadium and, while he wouldn’t confirm it, the return of playmaker Quade Cooper means he is likely to play on the wing for the first time this season.

O’Connor was hailed as one of the world’s best wingers by coach Richard Graham during pre-season, but the Reds’ injury crisis meant the 24-year-old turned out at five eighth and fullback in the two games he has played – failing to hit any great heights on either occasion.

Asked where he would be stationed against the Lions, O’Connor said with a wry grin: “Obviously not 10.”

“Quade’s back so that’s good.

“I’ll be in the outside backs.

“We looked pretty good yesterday – I don’t think we’ve announced the team so I can’t say exactly where just yet.

“But I think it’s the best position for me to be involved.

“It’s where I’m comfortable, it should work out pretty well.”

O’Connor said there was a new energy at Ballymore this week as the likes of Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Greg Holmes, Ben Daley, Lachie Turner and possibly Beau Robinson prepare to return from the casualty ward.

“As a whole it’s been pretty frustrating,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of injuries and that’s what affected the way we play as a group and what we could do as a group.”

O’Connor revealed he had not been 100 per cent fit during his short time with the Reds – but he is now, and he’s ready to prove a point or two.

“Both games I’ve played, we lost. That’s not a good stat to start,” he said.

“I don’t think I played anywhere near my best.

“I just haven’t quite been able to get into my stride… (but) this is the first of hopefully many weeks where I can stay on the field and keep my body in good shape.

“We had a really good training yesterday, I got my metres back up to where they had been at my top speed.”


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