Queanbeyan Whites head coach Adam Fahey remarked in December that he had never seen so many of his players wearing singlets, following a gruelling body transformation gained through a player-driven pre-season schedule.
The tough conditioning proved beneficial to a fit, fast and physical Queanbeyan outfit in Cowra on Saturday, March 5, when they beat out reigning champions the Woodstock Wallys, to claim the annual Twilight 10s crown.
Whites captain Dan Penca remained sidelined due to a recovering injury, and filled in as coach for a duty-bound Adam Fahey, alongside Glen Stumbles, Craig Freeman and Sean Debenham. Penca said he and his co-coaches were impressed with the physicality displayed by their squad, and expressed his excitement for the impending 2016 season.
"It was very physical and I was glad to be on the sideline, particularly with the noises of bodies coming into that contact," Penca said.
"But the boys had a great weekend and won six games in crazy 38 degree heat.
"It was good to get a start on that winning culture, because that is something that is really important to us at the Whites."
The squad prevailed early in their initial rounds, felling Red Dog Rugby, The Hills, Woy Woy and thrashing a hapless Riders of Rohan 38 - 0, before coming up against the three-peat seeking Woodstock Wallys in the grand final.
The Whites outclassed and outpaced an exhausted Wallys outfit in unforgiving heat, taking complete control in the second half, scoring two tries to blow out the tied game before notching up 16 points to the Sydney invitational side's 7.
"It was good to put an end to the three-peat," Penca said.
"For us anyway, not so much for them."
New Whites recruit Nela Moa was named as player of the tournament, following an impressive performance at centre that laid the winning foundation for the club in combination with Lania Tiatia.
"He's a newbie, he's come from a rugby league background and was a part of the Raiders under 20s last year," Penca said.
"So he's come across to rugby union and Cowra was a really good introduction for him because breaking in in an atmosphere like that meant that he was able to learn a lot that day and really find his feet."
The Whites have been a regular fixture at the tournament but in a testament to the club's depth, took a second side along for the first time this year. The squad, dubbed Queanbeyan Blue, was made up of a blended mixture of youthful players and former schoolboys who were facing up against fully grown men for the first time. The youthful squad finished up seventh with Jindabyne import David Akkersdyk being the pick of the mix following a strong defensive performance, paired with quality running rugby.
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