The ultimate clubman reaches a Marlin milestone
RUGBY UNION: A pioneer of the Southern Cross University Marlins will become the first man to reach a major milestone for the club this weekend.
Ben Van Der Linden has been a mainstay of the Marlins since the early days and will be the first Marlin to collect 100 senior caps on Saturday.
He said it's an honour to reach the magic mark.
"I'm beating my good mate Shaun Rayner by just one week,” Van Der Linden said.
"It's a really proud moment for me. I came here when I was just 21 and didn't know anyone.
"Most of the mates I've made have been through the Marlins and I met my wife through them as well.
"I've grown up in my early adulthood years through the club.”
Still only 28, Van Der Linden has racked up his century in quick time and is a realistic chance of setting a tough-to-beat appearance record by the time he hangs up the boots.
The backrower said a combination of commitment and luck have led to his rapid rise to 100 matches.
"I've had a big desire to make every game and I do my best to get to all of them,” he said.
"I have good genes which is probably why I've avoided serious injury, my Dad played a lot of rugby.
"In saying that I have played busted a bit. I remember a game down at Bowraville when we only travelled with 13 blokes and I probably shouldn't have been playing.
"At the pub after the game a few of the opposition boys came up and said they were leaving me alone on the field because they could see I was injured and only there because we were short on numbers.”
Van Der Linden will play reserve grade for the Marlins on Saturday at 1.45pm at Marlin Park against the Kempsey Cannonballs.
First grade kicks off at 3pm, with SCU chasing their second win on the trot.
The Coffs Harbour Snappers are also home this weekend, as they entertain the Port Macquarie Pirates.
Kick off is at 3pm Saturday.