Allen's arrival: From injured water boy to Norths' main man
RUGBY LEAGUE: Six weeks out from the 2016 grand final and Dean Allen thought 'why me?'.
He'd just broken his collar bone and heard the news his season was on life support.
Stunned, devastated at another injury, he tried in vain to defy the doctor's orders.
Rockhampton Brothers had run away with the competition and were undefeated premiership favourites. Norths Chargers were expected to crumble without their little general.
"I broke my collar bone six weeks out from the final," he said with a sigh looking back.
"They put me down as 20th man, and I like to think I could have played, but it was no good, busted.
"I would have loved to be out there.
"I managed to run the water which was good and the young fellas in the halves did so well.
"They didn't die off until the 80th minute and we all saw what happened."
Allen, decked out in his fluro water boy gear, felt only elation as rookie halves Caleb Tull and Jack White steered Norths to an unforgettable upset in last year's grand final.
Any bitter-sweet feelings were swept under the rug.
But come Saturday week, it is Allen's turn.
He will treat it like any other game, go in nice and relaxed, honing in on North's second straight title.
"I've told Rooster (Norths' coach Kane Hardy) that I'm not training this week," he joked.
"No, I am really keen for it, no nerves for me just yet.
"Grand final day I will have some lunch with my partner, chill out for a bit and head over to Browne Park at the normal time."
RRL A-Grade Top Pointscorers
- Dean Allen - Norths Chargers 227
- Byron Hassall - Biloela Panthers 136
- Yoren Major - Emu Park Emus 103
- Cody Grills - Yeppoon Seagulls 102
- Malcolm Darkin - Emu Park Emus 80
With a mammoth 227 points in the regular home and away season, no player came within striking distance of Allen's personal haul.
He crossed the line nine times and booted 93 goals (and five field goals), many from the sideline - it is the highest tally in recent years, perhaps ever.
While his crafty running game and sneaky dummy are used to full effect, his goal kicking comes naturally.
"I should probably work on it more than I do," he laughed.
"I only spend about five minutes before training practising.
"The individual points record is great but it isn't why I play. I am just happy to add extras after the boys do the hard yards."
Allen, like most in Rocky Rugby League, harbour dreams of higher honours.
He tasted it with the Capras a handful of times, only for injury to strike.
"I try not to think about it if I am honest," he said.
"I just have to keep playing good footy. Rooster helps. He is very passionate about his football and really helps me."
While he might be small in stature, Allen doesn't shy away from the hard yards. He defends out wide and sees traffic week in week out.
Back rowers running with all legs and elbows pick him off, he takes his kicks right to the line and anticipates the oncoming belting.
But he gets up time and time again, claret sometimes at his lips.
Reece Baker, Jack Madden and Maipele Morseu are three of the Capras finest, but Allen wouldn't look out of place - his goal kicking alone would be an upgrade.