Dan Penca racks up 100th Queanbeyan Whites cap

Queanbeyan Whites captain Dan Penca will bring up his 100th game against the Tuggeranong Vikings on Saturday. Photo: Joshua Matic.

Queanbeyan Whites captain Dan Penca will bring up his 100th game against the Tuggeranong Vikings on Saturday. Photo: Joshua Matic.

HE has lifted the John I Dent Cup three times and been involved with the ACT Brumbies development program, but now inspirational Queanbeyan Whites captain Daniel Penca gets to celebrate his century milestone.

The work-horse forward who has dominated opposition back rows over the past seven years will run on to Campese Field for his 100th Whites appearance on Saturday against heavyweights the Tuggeranong Vikings.

And while the his focus will be on the potentially brutal contest against the competition favourites to break free of the tight deadlock between second and fifth, the occasion will allow him to reflect on the abundance of rugby he has played.

Penca is a one-club man, and told The Queanbeyan Age he could not be prouder of where the club has progressed to.

"Every year the club evolves, and it's become a lot better with the standard of rugby in the lower grades, especially since 2007," said Penca.

"Hopefully we can keep that success at Queanbeyan going because it's great for the community, it's great for the club, and it's great for ACT rugby if Queanbyean is strong."

The year 2007 is one Penca remembers well being his first season at the Whites as an 18-year old and helping the club to its first John I Dent Cup triumph in 24 years.

He was virtually born and bred in rugby union, starting at 10 years of age at Canberra's prestigious St Edmund's College and progressing through their rich rugby development system.

Having never played any other sport, he turned to Queanbeyan, which has a strong relationship with St Edmund's, and started in the first grade side right from the get go.

And although he now admits he is past opportunities for higher accolades, that same year he represented the Australian under 19s team in Belfast, United Kingdom, and was picked in the ACT Brumbies Academy where he trained for four years.

He also represented the ACT Griffins side that play NSW Country annually last year.

Penca was then the victim of circumstance, with Super Rugby results going astray at the Brumbies and changes in its coaching and structure taking place, forcing Penca, amongst others, out of their system.

But despite this promise blowing out the window, Penca said he was still proud of solely focusing on the Whites.

"I was always on the radar having played for representative teams overseas, but the Brumbies changed their coaching and I got overlooked," he said.

"I just put them on the back pedal and focused on Queanbeyan and winning premierships for them."

With fellow Whites developed players Robbie Coleman and Nic White now in the Brumbies Super Rugby side frequently, Penca said he held no grudges and took pride in claiming these men as his teammates.

"Just to see their emotion and drive and buzz at club level is awesome. It's so good to see those blokes come back and enjoy playing football," he said.

"We've been really blessed with some of our players."

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