YAMBA Buccaneers junior Kane Douglas is hoping for a new lease on life under newly appointed Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn when the side's season kicks off against a remodelled Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park tonight.
Douglas will be looking for stability in the Reds line-up this season after drifting in and out of the squad in 2017.
But he will have to do it from the bench with Thorn opting for the preferred lock pairing of Wallabies young guns Izack Rodda and Lukhan Tui.
But it is an opportunity for competition with his own teammates that Douglas is relishing in.
"We have got a few blokes who can play lock or in the second row and those guys are all at a great level,” he said. "They are both Wallabies now as well and deserve their spots. I just have to prove I deserve to be there as well.
"There is a healthy competition for spots, which I think just pushes you to work harder. It is a good pressure.”
The former Wallabies enforcer said he is also learning a lot off his new coach, with the former All Blacks forward bringing a much similar style to his coaching as he did to his playing days.
"He is not too far off from playing himself really, and you can see he still has that connection with a lot of the players,” Douglas said.
"Everyone has been training really well, we did a little army camp together which I think really brought the squad together even more.
"Brad has put a renewed focus into our skill work. We probably aren't doing as much dedicated fitness sessions, but I think we work on a lot of that while doing the skills-based stuff.”
The Reds are coming off one of the worst seasons in their Super Rugby history, finishing the year third in the Australian conference with only four wins from 15 starts.
But that was last year, and in 2018 Thorn has made it clear he wants a different approach from the Reds.
And the 28-year-old Douglas wants to be the one leading the charge for him.
"I am just really excited to get out there again, I am feeling 100 per cent” Douglas said. "You train really hard and you think you're in a good spot but you never really know until you play.”
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