The Melbourne Rebels have re-signed rookie scrumhalf Ben Meehan on a contract that will keep him playing Super Rugby in Melbourne for two years.
Meehan, who has made seven appearances including two starts in his first season at the Club, resisted overtures to move interstate.
The former Melbourne Storm academy player, and 2013 Australian U20s star, joined the Club ahead of the 2014 season and has impressed the Club's hierarchy and members with his tenacity, grit, accurate pass and clever kicking game.
"It was a really tough decision," Meehan admitted. "I had a lot of interest, including from Queensland, which is originally home and where all of my family is. That was tough to turn down, but I genuinely think this is the best Club for me for the next two years, and I am really looking forward to it.
"The direction that the Club is going in; the staff, the players and everybody here are a big family. 'Dumper' (Tony McGahan) is doing a really good job in directing everybody and I really get along well with him; that's a major influence for me."
That bond with McGahan is also helping Ben on the field as well as off, with the young scrumhalf believing that the glut of young players committing can be at least partially attributed to McGahan's developmental abilities.
"Tony is super tough on me, which is what I need; that's how you get the best out of people, by constantly putting them under pressure. I find that he is continually expecting, and then getting, the best out of all of us."
"There's a big group of young fellas committing, such as Sean McMahon, Jack Debreczeni, Sam Jeffries and Colby Fainga'a, and that definitely affected my decision. We all get along like a house on fire, and we're all growing as a young playing group. We should be here together for a long time, which is really good."
Ben has been mentored by Rebels' Captain Scott Higginbotham during his first season at the Club, and took his counsel when weighing up his options.
"I went to breakfast and spoke to 'Higgers' while I was deciding whether to re-sign, and he gave me his opinion which I definitely took on board; in fact, it was probably the last little push I needed to get me over the line. I see him as a close friend of mine, and I look up to him a lot."
Ben has played more Super Rugby than even he expected to in his first season at the Club, with injuries to Nic Stirzaker and Luke Burgess handing him opportunities which he has taken with open arms. Indeed, his attitude and confidence has impressed all at the Club as he has come up against three Wallaby scrumhalves in his last three appearances.
"I didn't expect to start any matches; I only expected a few games off the bench," Meehan says.
Living in Melbourne played a big part in the eventual decision Meehan made.
"I love Melbourne completely, to bits. There's so much to do, and such great people at the Club, and it's what I love about this place."
McGahan shared Ben's delight as he extends his stay in Melbourne.
"Its great news for the Club that we can re-sign another really promising young player," he said. "It really augurs well going forward that we are able to continue to retain quality young players that have come into the program this year, and it gives us a really strong base to work from in what is a really competitive market."
Ben will compete with Wallaby Luke Burgess and Nic Stirzaker, who are both signed for the 2015 season, for the Rebels' number nine jersey.