SEEING RED: Family disappointed not able to farewell Kane
RUGBY UNION: He's the type of bloke who goes looking for hard work and expects nothing in return. But even Kane Douglas had every right to be disappointed when he learned he was not required for the Queensland Reds on Saturday night.
The 48-27 final round Super Rugby win over the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium was to be the 29-year-old lock's last game on Australian soil before linking up with French Top 14 side Bordeaux on a two-year deal. His family had booked tickets for the occasion but - like Douglas - found out days before the game that he was not named in the line-up.
Instead coach Brad Thorn opted to use the dead rubber as an opportunity to look to the future in the form of 20-year-old Angus Blyth.
Kane's father Chris Douglas did travel from Yamba to watch his son at Brisbane a week earlier when the Reds upstaged Melbourne Rebels 37-23. But at the time he had no idea it would potentially be the former Wallaby's last appearance in Australia.
"I went to the game without knowing it was going to be his last in Australia," Chris said.
"No one knew he wasn't actually going to play.
Speaking to The Daily Examiner yesterday, Chris said he and other relatives who live in Sydney cut short plans to travel to the game when they found out Kane, who did watch the match from the stands, was left out of the side.
"I was disappointed at the way he was farewelled from the Queensland Reds. It could've been handled a lot better," Chris said.
"There's a level of disappointment they weren't able to make plans to recognise the contribution he's made to rugby union in this country since the age of 14.
"The week before the coaching staff had praised Kane for being vigilant and not turning off as someone who was moving on from the club, but continuing to support the team and other members. Then he's not invited to play in the next game.
"However Kane himself is a professional and accepted the decision as being perhaps the best for the team going forward.
"He's got a two-year contract in Bordeaux but he doesn't see that as the end of his career. He's still got a lot of life in him and he's still playing good rugby.
"Win, lose or draw, he's a proud Australian."
Chris' sentiments echoed those of his daughter-in-law, Kane's wife Jennarly, who took to social media to express her disappointment.
"I have watched the love of my life put a decade of whole-hearted dedication, hard work and effort into a career not only for his club and teammates but his country," she said.
"We were not even informed that your last game in Super Rugby was going to be last week... and your little family of three not even able to show our love and admiration, and to give you the send off we know you deserve."
Kane grew up playing for Yamba Buccaneers, some who also planned to be in the stands on Saturday night. Club secretary Bob Thompson said it was disappointing Kane missed out on public recognition, but understood the decision.
"It's disappointing he didn't get the opportunity to farewell the fans in Australia.
"But you can understand the coach wanting to take the opportunity to blood a young player.
"I'm sure Brad Thorn didn't say 'piss off, we don't want you anymore'. He's very much in the process of assembling a team of youngsters.
"Kane was originally with the Waratahs and only had two years with Queensland, it's not like he was a 10-year veteran. These days when it's a professional sport a lot of those niceties drop out," Thompson said.
"He basically took the first spot that was around when he came back originally (from Leinster in 2015) to get his spot back for the World Cup (under Michael Cheika)," he said.