Courtesy of the Sunshine Coast Daily - By Anthony Brand
Sunshine Coast Falcons centre Rowan Klein has experienced the heartbreak of his club's demise in recent years but is determined to play a starring role in the team's journey to redemption.
But it will not come easy for the seven-season clubman, who is fighting to protect his centre position from a string of new hopefuls as well Melbourne Storm fringe players.
Klein's main competition will come from his twin brother and former captain, Callum, and Falcons second-rower/centre Rueben Ballie.
The latter is known as a barnstorming back-rower but has informed coach Glen Dreger of his aspirations to play in the three-quarter position.
Dreger rates Baillie very highly. The 22-year-old was one of only two Falcons sent to train with the Melbourne Storm NRL squad for a month in the lead-up to Christmas.
Rowan Klein has spent five years playing for the Coast in the Intrust Super Cup and is regarded as a reliable member of the backline who can hold his own.
But apart from the 23-year-old's football nous, he has another weapon in his arsenal that may get him first shot in the position.
Klein was part of the squad that dropped 37 games on the trot and admitted he would like nothing more than to play a part in the Falcons' resurgence to Intrust Super Cup powerhouse.
"It would mean a lot to me and there is no hiding the fact that this is my fifth year in the Intrust Super Cup and I haven't won too many games," he said.
"To hold my spot in a quality team and win games for the Sunshine Coast is all I want to do, so it would mean a lot to me."
Klein said he was well aware of the challenges ahead as he attempted to retain his starting spot.
"I have played most of my first grade there (centre) and I would like to stay there, but there are other good centres at the club too, so I am up against it," he said.
"That breeds competition and that's fine.
"I know Melbourne will send back a centre as well, and Rueben Baillie, so there are a lot of players going for one spot and it is tough."
With fringe players from a red-hot Melbourne squad at the club's disposal, Klein said it was hard not to build expectations for the season ahead.
"We are very confident and we are trying to keep it under wraps," he said.
"Time will tell when we get our Melbourne players and we can put together our squad. It will be strong and one that will be able to compete with the top end of the competition."