Why 2012 was the nadir of the Western Force

sittingbison Roar Pro

By sittingbison, sittingbison is a Roar Pro

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    The 2012 season was the nadir of the Western Force. NIB Stadium was a ruin of rickety scaffold stands with portable toilets, appalling food and drink, and no members bar.

    Marquee player Willie Rippia was sent packing for stealing from teammates and Napolioni Nalaga missed half the season with injury.

    Coach Richard Graham was sacked mid-season after signing a contract with bitter rivals Queensland Reds.

    Star recruit Will Genia reneged on a verbal contract, legendary player and inaugural captain Nathan Sharpe retired, and great player and captain David Pocock left for the Brumbies.

    After comprehensively defeating a shell-shocked Reds in Round 6, the team won only one of its last 10 games (against the lowly Lions), and were playing disjointed, boring and stupid kicking rugby that left even stalwart supporters exasperated, a far cry from the star-studded entertaining and enterprising play of 2007 to 2009.

    Could it get any worse? Indeed, the long drawn out selection process of securing a top coach went horribly wrong when Michael Cheika turned down a contract offer and left the franchise in disarray and fans deeply concerned for its future.

    And then the bombshell, the appointment of Michael Foley, fresh from coaching the Waratahs annus horribilis.

    The only saving grace amongst all this gloom was the recruitment of Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs to fill the problematic flyhalf, and the re-signing of stalwart players Matt Hodgson, Ben McCalman, Richard Brown and Brett Sheehan, all showing great character in a major statement of intent for the future.

    Out of nowhere came the first signs of rejuvenation. The board started talking about a “relaunch”.

    Upon arrival Foley immediately said he was not interested in quick fixes and band-aid solutions, but was employed to build from scratch a sustainable professional rugby program from the ground up, and to put in place the right staff and players to achieve that goal.

    He started talking about introducing an attractive expansive attacking style that players want to play and WA fans (who thrive on this style in all their sport) want to watch, and future prospects will want to join. What? This doesn’t sound like the 2012 Waratahs!

    To the delight of all incredulous supporters, Foley appointed support staff that exactly complimented those grand aspirations: Steve Meehan as attack and backs coach, immensely respected for transforming the Bath backline into a feared, threatening, integrated attacking force.

    Chook Fowler from hated rivals Reds as strategic planner.

    David Joyce as Head of Athletic Performance to design and implement co-ordinated tailor made athletic programs.

    South African Dave Wessels as defence co-ordinator, and GM Chris Webb to revolutionise and professionalise the rugby department.

    After martinet John Mitchell and inexperienced Richard Graham, the Force had never seen anything like it, the best possible quality people in all positions working together in a coordinated professional plan specifically designed for sustainable success rather than instant gratification.

    Then came the rejuvenation of the playing group. To implement and achieve a revolution in playing style and strategy, it necessitated a large turnover and recruitment of different types of players.

    Players of character who wanted to be involved at the Force for the right reasons, not mercenaries looking for a huge pay packet or prima donnas looking to stroke their ego, or pensioners looking for a retirement package. Hungry skillful players with something to prove to themselves and doubters.

    Alby Mathewson, an experienced and high quality 9 from Blues, Jayden Hayward an skilful 12 with some experienced at ‘Canes, the very experienced and skillful duo of utility back Sam Norton Knight and loose forward Hugh McMeniman wanting a return to Super Rugby after stints overseas, back rower Chris Alcock wanting to re-establish himself, and centres Chris Tuatara-Morrison seeking a second chance in professional rugby and Junior Rasolea wanting to break into rugby from Sevens.

    So out of the ashes of despair of season 2012 comes a new sense of hope for 2013 and beyond, not based on hot air and desperation but finally on something solid, something tangible, the foundations of a real Force to be reckoned with thanks largely to the unfairly derided Foley and his assistants.

    A new roofed stadium with professional facilities, a professional rugby department, an integrated coordinated coaching plan with quality staff, a revamped backline selected to play a new exciting attacking style, and the existing strength of the forward pack under Nick Stiles complimented with 3M and Chris Alcock to cover departed Sharpie and Pocock, and the beginnings of player depth, especially in the halves, with nine capped Wallabies.

    And most importantly, the hugely admired and respected Matt Hodgson as club captain, twice the Force Player of the Year, who exudes the necessary qualities of character and strength to unify the new playing group with the new structures and schemes.

    This total transformation has been stunning and a delight to behold; the players appear happy and enthusiastic.

    I am the first to admit I was wrong to be aghast at the appointment of Foley. But I have nothing but admiration for Foley and his team for undertaking such a task and seeking to turn around the long-term fortunes of the Western Force.

    The first order of business is to make NIB stadium (with hopefully the newly named Sharpe End stand) a veritable “Force field”, where visiting teams starting or ending long arduous tours fear to play.

    The Force have the distinction of home and away winning percentages being equal; they just need to win at home to succour the long suffering but faithful Sea of Blue supporters.

    They have also beaten every team in the competition, have won well in both South Africa and New Zealand, and have beaten all Australian teams away. Write them off at your peril.

    Game day forwards:

    Front row: 1 Longbottom, 2 Charles, 3 Cowan with experienced Maafu and maturing Manu.

    Locks: 4 Wykes, 5 Lynn with returning 3M.

    Backrow: 6 Brown, 8 McCalman, 7 Hodgson with experienced Alcock and maturing McCaffrey.

    Game day backs:

    Halves: 9 Mathewson, 10 Ebersohn are new halves combo with developing Kyle Godwin and experienced Sheehan.

    Centres: 12 Hayward, 13 Tupou with Tuatara-Morrison and Rasolea.

    Outside: 11 Dellit, 14 Cummins, 15 Mafi with experienced SNK and raw Stubbs (I will slip in here the size of the backs, these guys are huge; almost all well over 6′ and 100kg).

    Players to watch: Tuatara-Morrison, 3M, McCaffrey plus Godwin as a future Wallaby 10.

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    The Crowd Says (242)

    • December 18th 2012 @ 6:55am
      Crashy said | December 18th 2012 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Interesting. Hopefully they’ll catch some of the big boys off guard.

    • December 18th 2012 @ 6:55am
      kingplaymaker said | December 18th 2012 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      In that case next year will be the depthless abyss beneath human conception with Michael Foley as coach!!!!

      It’s amazing that he was appointed over Steve Meehan, a far superior candidate, not that he needed to be very good in comparison to Foley.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 11:47am
        sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        KPM, Foley is in more of a Director of Coaching role, he is putting in place the structures for sustained success. He adroitly selected Steve Meehan to be the actual “coach”, so we have the best of both worlds. Off topic and I’m not going to pursue this on this thread, possibly Deans (who has many great attributes and a vast knowledge and experience of Rugby but a personality/empathy/communication issue) could learn a thing or two, but he is lumbered with Nucifora. I know who I’d rather have. And its interesting that Sir Richie has essentially said the problem with Deans is he is incapable of implementing this structure.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 12:46pm
          kingplaymaker said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          Yes that’s well off topic.

          Foley is boss as far as I am aware, and results will doubtless soon make this clear.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 1:38pm
          Bunratty said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Very nicely-written article, sittingbison!

    • December 18th 2012 @ 7:01am
      mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      so force now stand a chance because they have more foreigners than ever? not only are they pillaging other countries players, SA and NZ predominantly, now they’re pillaging support staff from around the world? how does all this put the force (and the other aus sides) in a better position next year to be self reliant? how does any of this increase the amount of players coming through the age grades?
      this would have to be the worst aus era i’ve witnessed in 40 years of watching rugby and all i can see is it will get worse before it gets better, if it ever does get better.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 7:42am
        Justin2 said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        Don’t Nz team pillage Aussies for the ITM cup?

        • December 18th 2012 @ 7:44am
          mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:44am | ! Report

          yeah sure j2. nz itm needs more aus players . funny

          • December 18th 2012 @ 8:08am
            Justin2 said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:08am | ! Report

            Oh so they don’t? Hypocritical me thinks… You go for the best layers available, it’s that simple.

            • December 18th 2012 @ 8:09am
              mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:09am | ! Report

              why is it hypocritical? ur not making sense grammatically or logically

              • December 18th 2012 @ 9:12am
                Justin2 said | December 18th 2012 @ 9:12am | ! Report

                Its ok for ITM Cup teams to choose some aussies but not OK for Super teams to do similar? Havent the Highlanders got a few foreigners on heir books too?

              • December 18th 2012 @ 9:14am
                mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                difference being that ITM doesnt need imports to put up a team that can play entertaining positive rugby.

              • December 18th 2012 @ 9:15am
                Justin2 said | December 18th 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

                Well that makes sense…

              • December 18th 2012 @ 11:14am
                Ryan said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                Justin you can’t be serious?
                NZ is hardly poaching talent from Australia to play in the ITM cup.
                I can only think of one Aussie playing in this years comp and that was Betham who is originally from NZ I believe or has strong links here.
                The ITM cup is ideal for players wanting to break into SR and any Aussie who gets a shot should feel priviliged as it can only better their rugby development more so than they would get playing club rugby in Sydney or Brisbane.
                Also pays to note not one of the Aussies who have played in the ITM cup are withheld from playing for their Australian club teams, SR teams should they be selected or are they forced to swear allegiance to the Black Jersey unlike that which happens in Australia where players are held back from returning to NZ for ITM cup and those who have not represented NZ at senior level are coerced into swearing allegiance to the national team. It is the carrot that it is put in front of them to head across the ditch, and to say it isn’t is to live in denial. (Not that you have said it but I’m sure at some point someone will)

        • December 18th 2012 @ 8:19am
          Darwin Stubbie said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

          Thanks for the laugh this morning

      • December 18th 2012 @ 9:46am
        Steve said | December 18th 2012 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        I’m a Western Force supporter and I couldn’t care less how many imports they have. The more the better if they entertain and help improve results. I couldn’t care less if there were no Australians in the side, why would I. I’m a western force supporter not a wallaby supporter. International rugby interests me as much as warts.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 8:27pm
          GWS said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

          As interesting as warts.
          That gold

      • December 18th 2012 @ 11:55am
        sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:55am | ! Report

        mania, Perth is a polyglot city with large saffa and Kiwi populations (as well as Brits).

        However, I must point out the Force have NOT gone down the road of pillaging other teams and swathes of foreigners. Mathewson, Ebersohn, Hayward and Alcock were all bench bit players behind internationals. Not one of their players is pillaged, in fact over the past few seasons it is the Force who have been pillaged of their star internationals with Brumbies taking Pocock and Rebels taking Judas. On top of this the Force get one marquee and two development players just like Reds, Tahs and Brums. They have never had a single concession from the ARU, which is one of the single greatest impediments to their success (along with the academy fiasco).

        Meehan and Fowler had both been let go by the Reds, who decided to take Richard Graham instead.

        The Tahs wanted desperately to get Cheika, and get rid of Foley.

        So its a win win for everybody, the bench players getting valuable match time, the coaches getting employed in Australia.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 12:10pm
          mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          good point sittingbison . tru that force have been more victims of poaching. havent been there but i know that perth is a beautiful diverse city. most of my comments today have been solely tounge in cheek wind up.

          goodluck for 2013.

          • December 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm
            sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            mania, lets hope that Steve Meehan can transform the Force backs into an attacking force (scuze the pun hehe), because we all want to see entertaining play not some of the turgid dross served up this year. Nobody is expecting miracles this coming year, but fingers crossed the effort to do it is there.

            The funny thing is the Force DID play entertaining rugby with a powerful backline (missing a 10), but lacked forwards. They never stinted in endeavour despite limited success, and usually fought every game to the last second.

            • December 18th 2012 @ 12:58pm
              mania said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

              i hope so bison. i was really annoyed that aus got its 5th team and then served up the local derby dross these last 2 seasons. would love to see the force rise above the other teams on the back of its grass roots sytem. then i can say i was right and grassroots is hard work but the way to go to succed in rugby.

              as u say “Nobody is expecting miracles this coming year” but with the grassroots in place perth has an infinate more chance of succeeding than any other team without it and perth have ensured continuation of force rugby

      • December 18th 2012 @ 2:16pm
        Hightackle said | December 18th 2012 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        Mania this is nowhere near the worst era in Aust rugby for the last 40 years. Nowhere near it. Aust are ranked 3 in the world and have been 2 for most of the last few years. An Australian team won the super comp in 2011 and the won the 3 nats that year also.
        From 1973-1990 the Wallabies won just over 50% of their games and lost multiple tests to teams like Tonga, Wales, Scot, Arg.
        Aust now has 5 super teams but they just dont have the player pool. They have less than half the players to choose from under the age of 20 compared to NZ. Also they lose a lot to the more popular code league.
        People have short memories and forget that in Aust, union is mainly a private school sport, is the 5th most popular team sport, can not support a national comp and does not have the player pool that other countries like NZ, SA, Fra, Eng, Wal and other countries do. People think that becuz Aust has more adult male players that that must mean they have the player pool, it doesnt. The true indication is the players under 20. Last I looked I didnt see too many 50 year old ex league players being recruited to super rugby.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 2:38pm
        Hightackle said | December 18th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

        Also the ABs have had Kaino, Mils, Sivi, Tuigamala, Lam, Rocakoko, Collins, Soialu in the ABs and many others who were born overseas. Thorn was raised overseas and played for Aust in league. SBW played his first game of pro rugby in NZ at the age of 25 around the same age Thorn did. Steve Devine played for Aust at Jr level and then played for NZ.

        The idea that bringing in overseas talent will not help young Australians is also false becuz if they dont bring in foriegn talent now, there will be no teams for those young players to go to in the future becuz as it stands, Aust does not have the players to support 5 super teams.

        I think everybody assumes Australia is underperforming. They are definately an overachieving nation as far as its circumstances. Along with Ireland, Aust has been doing extremely well. Thats why I find it amazing that Ausie fans are so upset that in 1 year their team had difficulty playing awesome rugby but still managed amazing come from behind wins with the worst set of injuries and turmoil Ive ever seen for any international side. I mean its like…gee you poor Aust fans, your team is still winning despite everything thats happened. Dry your eyes and acknowledge what a good year Aust has had under the circumstances.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 3:59pm
          Lippy said | December 18th 2012 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          Your getting desperate HT when you use Collins, So’oialo and Mils Muliaina to bolster your argument all of whom came to NZ as youngsters. You can also throw Rocokoko into that mix.
          Once again your posting shows you out to not be the Kiwi you claim to be.

          • January 8th 2013 @ 7:56am
            Jaredsbro said | January 8th 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

            I notice you didn’t in any way respond to his other comments of don’t cry so much over a traditionally losing battle. Rugby has plenty of potential growth in Oz but it requires a team in all main cities/a presence in all other regional cities in order to catch those who can’t or won’t make the AFL etc. If the AFL is doing this in the traditional Rugby nurseries maybe it’s time for it to start going both ways…which again reqs a BBL minimum of all major cities with a team or as direct feeders for the Super Provinces.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 11:47pm
          Malo said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

          I suppose a win is a win, but boy they got lucky. They only played alright against England. You do have a valid point they have got the results on the board for an injury year. I think the injuries were often caused through poor player management.

      • December 21st 2012 @ 9:44am
        Steve25 said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        The issue here is a lot more complex than just poaching players from NZ. Western Australia has a very long and proud rugby tradition but in comparison to NZ, NSW, QLD and even ACT which benefits from its proximity to NSW, its rugby community is very small, especially when you consider that WA is predominately an AFL playing state, the playing stock/pool in WA is very small. In order for a rugby franchise such as the Force to survive within the Super 15 comp, we have little choice but to contract players globally, which we have every right to do as long as we follow the ARU and SANZAR rules regarding foreign players etc. You may then argue that WA should not have a Super 15 representative side if it can’t muster its own players. However, I totally disagree with that because in order for rugby to be successful in the professional era and compete against soccer, League and AFL then you need to grow the game so that there are maximum opportunities for players and coaching staff to develop and improve.

    • December 18th 2012 @ 7:11am
      Johnno said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      I like the Western force , I have a real soft spot for them and WA rugby. WA has produced like STH Australia some of the best sports teams in all codes, AFL, NBL Perth wildcats, old NSL Perth Glory won a title,Sheffield shield cricket , and some of the best talent ever too in OZ sport.
      Luke Longley former NBA player with Micheal Jordan at Chicago Bulls, Andrew Vlahov australian boomer, Ben Cousins, Dennis Lillee, Bruce Reid, to name a few. But like STH Australia, WA gets mucked around alot by the east coast Sydney centric brigade.
      The force have wasted alot of years when they could of advanced, the fact it’s taken this long to finally get there act together to me, shows the ARU could of done a much better job. Alot of wasted years for WA rugby.

      And the biggest hogwash and nonsense was, that the Force struggle coz of there east coast location, and players don’t want to live there, “what hogwash nonsense”.
      Perth has 1.7 million people, a 1st world city, a beautiful climate, only 3-4 hours on the plane to Sydney, your still in Australia, total nonsense that theory.

      -If golf and tennis players go and live in Miami Florida, and all the socceroos players living and playing in the backwaters of Europe sometime for 10 years plus in places like Croatia, Poland, Romania, Belguim,switzerland, Russia, the North of England, and Japan rugby,then i’m sure Perth is not too far away from mummy and daddy and there teddy bear ,for these east coast born adults.
      Notice I say adults not kids, there not being sent to boarding school by having to live in Perth.

      -So that is nonsense perception why the force have failed to recruit. These are young adult men in there 20’s who don’t mind re-location, the reason why more players didn’t re-locate to Perth , was the lack of support for them in section of Australian rugby, and not helping them get a start up administration to a good level.

      Good team on paper hope it stays fit, and I hope Foley steps up, and we will find out if it was the Tahs culture or system this year that was at fault, the tahs have had a cleanout too, or is Foley really just not up to head coach super rugby standard.

      All in all I hope the force do well, but on a negative, and i think it’s relevant on the player welfare side, the force have been handed the worst draw of the year,of any super rugby team in terms of travel times, another kick in the guts for WA rugby.


      • December 18th 2012 @ 9:39am
        Blue Blood said | December 18th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        I’m surprised that you question the validity if the isolation and travel complaints made clear and plain by a departing Pocock and captain Hodgson on this very site. The article Hodgo wrote is still on his website if you want to read it yourself (www.matthodgson.com.au). I strongly suspect that their opinions are more valid than any armchair heroes such as ourselves.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 12:51pm
          sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          the single biggest thing the ARU could do is relax the salary cap for a “relocation” allowance, because it costs a fortune to move to Perth and the government has rescinded the living away from home tax break.

          Of course having another marquee might help, thats not really the long term answer however we need to get through the next couple of years in the mean time.

        • December 18th 2012 @ 12:58pm
          Go the Wannabe's said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Correct, it’s well documented that players have left to be closer to friends and family on the east coast. And with the salary cap, why wouldn’t you?

          They need to get rid of the cap, allow force more international players and access to a decent academy on the west coast.

          Only then we may actually see some true parity.

          • December 18th 2012 @ 1:17pm
            Wilson said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

            Hear hear.

            • December 18th 2012 @ 8:48pm
              Hertryk said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

              Ditto to that

          • December 18th 2012 @ 1:26pm
            Jutsie said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            instead of getting rid of the cap they could allow the force some concessions like the AFL allow the swan. Incorporate some “away from home” and “cost of living” extras for each player.
            Cos if u get rid of the cap all together then the force will still lose out due to the bigger clubs having deeper pockets.

            • December 18th 2012 @ 3:39pm
              sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

              yup agree, and its a flat rate so cannot by rorted to pay half the wage of a star recruit (no names no pack drill lol)

              • December 18th 2012 @ 4:09pm
                Jutsie said | December 18th 2012 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                haha yeah I said “each player” for that exact reason. Thats the one issue I have with the AFL system, if they had a flat rate we wouldn’t have the ridiculous situation where a premiership team is able to be the highest bidder for an out of contract star.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 2:52pm
        Hightackle said | December 18th 2012 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

        Perth is the 2nd most isolated capital city in the world.

        That theory you say is hogwash is backed up by players opions and geographical fact.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 6:52pm
          Campbell Watts said | December 19th 2012 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

          Where’s the most isolated city?

          I always thought that was Perth

          • December 19th 2012 @ 7:17pm
            Jerry said | December 19th 2012 @ 7:17pm | ! Report


            Though according to Wiki, Auckland is more remote than Perth (in that it’s further from any other city of 1 million plus) as Adelaide is slightly closer to Perth than Sydney is to Auckland. In rugby terms of course, Perth is far far more isolated.

    • Roar Guru

      December 18th 2012 @ 7:19am
      sixo_clock said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      Sounds like Foley, having escaped the moribund eastern states has put his cards on the table. Good stuff. If he can blend this talent into a team then good luck. He must have done soul-searching and sought good advice. WIsh him and the Force all the best.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 11:58am
        sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        six it would appear that Foley must have been shackled by HQ. What is being said and done at the Force is diametrically opposite to what we saw at the Tahs last year.

        And it also appears the Force Board have given him open slather and every available resource to turn them from a disorganised rabble into a professional outfit. And it looks like its working

        • Roar Guru

          December 18th 2012 @ 1:30pm
          jeznez said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          sb, just wait until he explains to you that the attacking game he is implementing is an attacking kicking game!!!!!!

          Just kidding – fingers crossed that you guys go well – just not as well as my Tahs!

          • December 18th 2012 @ 3:47pm
            sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

            hehe I think there would be a mass exodus, the sea of blue would part just like the red sea did lol (a little humour FOS) if that happened jez.

            I have had a few convos with Alby and the like, he came over specifically because the gameplan suited his strengths which are passing and running, not kicking it away brainlessly. Ebersohn has a tactical boot, but also runs and passes first. So does Godwin.

            And as I have said to KPM, Foleys task is to rebuild the overall rugby program, its Meehan who is in charge of coaching the attack with Fowler as strategist. And these two have had considerable success in implementing attacking adventurous playing styles

        • Roar Guru

          December 18th 2012 @ 4:25pm
          sixo_clock said | December 18th 2012 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          “Shackled’ would be a mild term for it.

          They are both in a desperate position, time to open the windows, fresh air etc.

          Rugby is all about the little things done quickly and accurately with a bit of strength and venom. If this group bond into a team then we can expect better things this year. Matt Hodgson will set a good tone. Hopefully he and the coaches will get the voices going on the field, get them thinking, get them involved in the process of generating pressure and identifying a weakness to exploit. If that happens then the Force fans can expect good things within a few years.

    • December 18th 2012 @ 7:19am
      Darwin Stubbie said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      The thing is the imports are still mostly second grade … Mathewson is average, Hayward an ok NPC player – they’re not going to set the competition on fire …

      One thing though this lot surely couldn’t be any worse prepared that 2012 team … I went to the preseason game v the Brumbies up here and they were appalling – you could see then that the brumbies had spent there preseason doing the basics and were at least a team with promise … The force were a rabble ….

      You’ve got to think Foley has at least got them going forward from an extremely low base – still don’t see them doing much next year – in a fight with the rebels for conference and overall wooden spooners

      • December 18th 2012 @ 8:45am
        nickoldschool said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Agree with your analysis DS. The only positive is that they should at least try to enjoy SR format, have a real go and entertain their supporters. In any comp with a relegation system they would be starting with a Damocles sword above the head, petrified with the fear of losing their spot. That’s why I at least expect or even demand that teams who fight for the wooden spoon at least give it a go and try to win rather than avoid hidings.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 11:37am
        Bakkies said | December 18th 2012 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        The Force were bad in that preseason game but they were unlucky to lose to the Brumbies in Canberra in round 1. The Force have the forwards even without Pocock and Sharpe just the back play needs work. Injuries rather then travel is a bigger problem for them.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 12:05pm
        sittingbison said | December 18th 2012 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        yes they were a rabble Darwin, and I am quite happy to lay the blame for that in the coaches box. The season itself was very hard to endure, even though we beat the Reds and the Tahs lol.

        As to the recruited players, they might not be stars but they have the character we have been looking for. Don’t forget the Force has had its share of recruiting big names nad it has not been a particulary successful or happy process. We are very happy with Alby and Sias, I think these guys will bring a lot of stability and process to the halves.

        One of the key objectives of Foley and co. is creating an environment and style that attracts quality players. But it has to be solid and sustainalbe, a culture if you like, not razzle dazzle. This is a building process underway, not a finished article.

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