HE came close to breaking into the Brisbane Broncos squad and he became a cult figure at Redcliffe. Now, towering centre/back rower Paul Ivan is with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Paul, are we right in suggesting you have some history with the Falcons?
"Yes, I played for them in their inaugural year, when the Falcons played in the FOGS competition (in 2006)."
What have you been up to since then?
"I went down to Sydney for a few years and then ended up at Redcliffe for five years."
Were you having a crack with an NRL club in Sydney?
"I was at Parramatta and I played Jersey Flegg (under-20) and also reserve grade there. I snapped my syndesmosis in my ankle and came back (to Queensland) halfway through the season and I felt a bit homesick. But the first year (I was there) in Flegg we made the grand final and that was pretty special."
So when you came back you linked with Redcliffe?
"I actually came back just before the June 30 deadline and ended up playing at Norths for half a season but the season after that I went to Redcliffe and I was there for five years."
During that time, you had some connections with the Brisbane Broncos?
"Yeah, I did a pre-season with them and played a pre-season trial (against Cowboys) with them in 2012."
With stints at the Eels and the Broncos, it sounds like you got pretty close to breaking into the NRL?
"I suppose I have been fairly close. I just haven't been able to get over the line but that's part of footy."
Is the NRL still on the radar?
"Yes and no. You've got take whatever chances come your way I suppose. You never give up."
What have you been doing this year and how did the gig with the Falcons come up?
"I've been playing in France, in the elite one competition and I've got connections at the Falcons because (coaching director) John Dixon was my coach at Redcliffe for a few years."
John gave you call and asked if you wanted to play for the Falcons?
"He asked if I was interested. I was going to have the (French) off-season off and then go back to France but then I decided why not play for the Falcons. This is where I grew up so I might as well give something back."
Is there a sense of nostalgia to returning to the Sunshine Coast?
"Yeah, but I'm the old fellow these days (28)."
So will you see out the season with the Falcons and then return to France?
"I'll definitely finish out the season with the Falcons and then whether I go back to France or not is a decision I will make later."
What about the Falcons' link with the Melbourne Storm? Is that something you're keen on?
"You've got to be keen (for an NRL opportunity) but you don't go around worrying about that sort of stuff. You've just got to try and play well and if something happens, then it happens. But I'm sure the Storm has got recruitment officers looking for younger fellows than me."
Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Daily