Ambitious Falcon feels the pain of losing run
A SHATTERED Kyle Van Klaveren felt like he had let his family down as he walked off the field after the Sunshine Coast Falcons' 60-6 loss to the Burleigh Bears last weekend.
The Dalby-raised speedster has travelled the long, hard road to Queensland's elite competition only to become part of one of the most unwanted achievements in state league history.
While Sunshine Coast's record 34-game losing streak has included its share of lows the 25-year-old winger said last Sunday's shellacking was among the worst moments in his career.
"Everyone knows if you are playing Queensland Cup you are at a decent level of football and that's why it's so heartbreaking and disrespectful for us to play that way," he said.
"We're letting down everyone - our families, our coaches, everyone who has helped us."
One of four siblings, Van Klaveren would spend Saturday afternoons in the country town of Dalby watching Queensland Cup on television and dreaming of one day gracing the screen.
He left his hometown and played for Toowoomba Brothers, then spent two seasons at Redcliffe before moving to the Coast last year in search of regular first-grade minutes.
He has accomplished his mission, but the team's performances have taken a toll.
"I always wanted to be the one that pushed myself as far as I could," he said.
"To do that I had to move myself, which was tough - moving from place to place without knowing anyone.
"But it was where I wanted to be and now that I'm here I feel like I'm letting people down.
"It takes its toll on me and I'm sure it does for the other players."
The Falcons' season has contained more spirited performances than their record-breaking losing streak suggests and Van Klaveren believes his team is capable of winning.
They came within a last-minute field goal of a draw against the league-leading Northern Pride a fortnight ago before producing their worst performance of the year on the Gold Coast.
If the Sunshine Coast does not record a victory in the next seven games, it will enter the record books for the longest losing streak in Australian rugby league history, surpassing a 41-game mark set 78 years ago.
That indignity would be an even more damaging blow for Van Klaveren and the others like him who are trying to use the Falcons to follow their rugby league dreams.
"We're playing against fringe NRL players and most of us are striving to go to another level, but we are never going to do that if we don't start performing better," he said.
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