Power. Never has a surname been more apt for a player. If supporters wanted to know what a new prop from Oz would bring to a Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV shirt, then all they needed to do was look at the match day programme when Oaks took on Beckenham RFC in 2014 and look at the new props surname as an indication to what he would offer the side. But in fact, as he approaches his 100th 1st XV cap this weekend against Havant RFC, the Oaks faithful have seen that the hulking Sevenoaks RFC prop brings so much more than sheer power.
‘DP’ to his team mates, Power made an immediate impact on his home debut, scoring a try against Tunbridge Wells RFC. His consistency in availability and form has meant that he has acquired a century of caps in fast fashion, playing a crucial role in Oaks rise from third in London 2 South in his first season, to play-off promotion winners in 2016 and to currently sitting fourth in London 1 South, the highest position Oaks have occupied in Power’s time at the Club. His bullocking runs and tough as teak tackling has given much joy to the Paddock faithful over the years and the cries of ‘Go On Power’ are now synonymous with Oaks 1st XV match days.
‘He’s been an brilliant asset to the Club over the past four years’ said 1st XV captain Stuart Coleman. ‘Despite playing in one of the most abrasive positions, I can’t really remember a game at he has been out injured. He’s as tough as nails and I often feel sorry for the opposition when he is at full tilt – for a big guy he gets going to a decent pace and that combination of size and speed means he is bloody hard to put down!’
Coleman continued ‘But it’s not just his work with the ball in hand. He’s lethal in defence and I’ve seen him bury quite a few opposition players in his time here! Those hits give the side real energy and a lift, even if I’m wincing a bit! Off the field, DP has become a really good mate – we hit it off pretty much as soon as he arrived at the Club and he’s a very popular member of the squad. He drives a lot of the social side, as you might expect an Australian prop to do (!) and a lot of the squad look up to him – in particular, he’s been really welcoming to guys that have come to the Club and taken them under his wing, showing true rugby and Oaks spirit.’
‘Dan has been one of the ‘go to’ players for me over my tenure in charge’ said Head Coach Adam Bowman. ‘He’s got the respect of all of his peers and is a hugely popular member of the squad’. This season we are seeing the best of DP – he worked really hard over the summer on his fitness and we are reaping the rewards this season. It’s enabled him to have many more involvements in the game and a bigger impact. It says a lot about him that he’s worked so hard and he should be very proud of what he has achieved at Oaks.’
Oaks second row Josh Pettet, who has grown close to Power since his return to the Club from University, echoes his Head Coach and Captain’s assessment of the man mountain, saying ‘Dan is one of the standout characters in the group, whether it be his dodgy moustache, questionable accent or leading a social event – you just can’t miss him! Having played with him for a few seasons now, he is an invaluable member of the squad and firmly has become a Sevenoaks man through and through, despite what his passport says.’ Pettet continued ‘He’s a true gent of the game and is an absolute pleasure to know him on and off the field.’
The man himself has clearly enjoyed his time at Oaks. So much so, that he gained permanent residency in the UK last year, which shows how much of a good match the Club and player have been. ‘It’s come around real quick’ said the prop. ‘The Club means a lot to me. The Club welcomed me as their own since day one and I’ve loved being a part of this squad and Club. It’s been a huge part of why I have stayed in England.’
With Oliver Shirtcliff also becoming a centurion in the past two weeks, Head Coach Adam Bowman believes that the level of experience provided by players like Shirtcliff and Power is providing Oaks with the tools necessary to compete at the higher end of the league. ‘Dan and Ollie are core to the squads success and have been leaders and drivers of standards over the past years. That experience is invaluable really – they will have experienced some tough days as you do on the rugby field, but they have clearly learnt from all their experiences in an Oaks shirt and are making that count this year. It’s important we put those learnings in place this weekend as we play at Havant, a place we haven’t won at as a squad. I’m delighted for Dan, as are the whole Club, and I hope we can put in a performance that celebrates his 100th league game.’
As he leads the side out on Saturday, an honour afforded to a player on their 100th league appearance, his chest will be puffed out that bit more, filled with pride and no doubt emotion. ‘I’ve loved every moment of being involved at the Oaks. The Club is always striving to be better which I really like and they’ve always treated me, from day 1, as one of their own. I’m proud to be an Oak and can’t wait to get going again on Saturday.’
On behalf of us all at Sevenoaks RFC, congratulations DP and thank you for your contribution to the Oaks over the past four years! A true Mighty Oak!