The NSWRL pays its respects to former Penrith and NSW fullback, Kevin Dann, who has passed away aged 62.
A Blacktown junior, Dann made his first grade debut in Round Two of the 1977 season and marked the occasion with a try to prove he could handle the step up in class.
Although the Panthers struggled during his years with the club, he was a mainstay of the side and a favourite with fellow players and the club’s legion of fans. He was capable of being spectacular in attack but was also rock solid in defence and under the high ball.
It was Dann’s misfortune to play in an era of outstanding fullbacks – Graham Eadie, Greg Brentnall, Garry Dowling and Phil Sigsworth for starters – but Penrith wouldn’t have swapped him for any.
He made one interstate appearance for NSW in 1980 as the Blues won 19-9 in the last match prior to the birth of the State of Origin concept.
Injuries in the early 1980s curtailed his career and forced him to retire prematurely in 1983. He attempted a comeback the next season but his body wouldn’t cooperate and he was forced to hang up the boots at the age of 25.
By that stage he had played over 120 first grade matches for Penrith and won a special place in the hearts of every Panther.