Hodgson primed to lead Force: Foley

By Justin Chadwick,


12 Have your say

    Western Force coach Michael Foley is confident new skipper Matt Hodgson and his army of lieutenants will be able to fill the leadership void left by Nathan Sharpe and David Pocock.

    Champion lock Sharpe, who captained the Force during their first six years, retired at the end of last season after notching a record 162 Super Rugby appearances.

    The Force were dealt a further blow when last year’s skipper Pocock defected to the Brumbies.

    Sharpe and Pocock have been the heartbeat of the Force since the franchise’s inception in 2006, but Foley said Hodgson was well placed to take on the skipper’s role.

    And the 31-year-old flanker will receive help in the leadership department from a big group of players eager to guide the Force to a successful future.

    Toby Lynn, Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes are among the players who have stepped up their leadership duties, while Pat Dellit, Richard Brown and 20-year-old flyhalf Kyle Godwin are others who will be entrusted with keeping standards high.

    “It could easily be seen to be a lot of chiefs and not a lot of Indians,” Foley said.

    “But what we do have is one captain, and everyone else just takes care of business and keeps each other accountable to the highest standards.”

    Foley said selflessness and honesty were two of Hodgson’s greatest attributes.

    “Those two things together just give him enormous respect within the team,” Foley said.

    “We’re very fortunate to have him leading us.”

    Foley has spoken to Sharpe regularly in recent months and predicted the Wallabies great would return to the Force at some point to help out.

    “We don’t have a long history, but we have some extremely supportive ex-players,” Foley said.

    “David Pusey is a guy who is doing a lot behind the scenes. Scott Staniforth is another one.

    “A lot of other provincial teams in Australia have ex-players who like to stand at a distance and take pot shots. We’ve got very supportive ex-players.

    “I think Sharpey undoubtedly will fall into that group of guys that will be supportive in different ways.”

    The new-look Force will get their first taste of action together when they take on the Brumbies in Darwin on February 1, before returning to WA to take on a Tongan Select XV in Mandurah on February 8.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • January 26th 2013 @ 6:52am
      the old man of rugby said | January 26th 2013 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      Well deserved

    • January 26th 2013 @ 11:12am
      Blue Blood said | January 26th 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Glad they finally made it official. But have they secured his services beyond the 2013 season yet? Or do we have to go through another Pocock year and then have another 1 year captain? That would make it 4 captains in 4 years. Hodgson needs to be signed up for multiple years and it needs to be done now.

    • January 26th 2013 @ 5:30pm
      Hightackle said | January 26th 2013 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

      I dont hold much hope for the Western Force.
      Maybe the numbers will prove me wrong but Im picking within 3 or 4 years there wont be a Western Force.
      I expect them to come 2nd to last in the comp and they cant get big Ausie name players or coaches.
      Dont take this as an attack on the Force, I hope they do well but for me the end is near.
      I expect a 2nd QLD side to replace them within 5 years but money will dictate that and perhaps the Force are loaded.

      • January 26th 2013 @ 10:36pm
        Blue Blood said | January 26th 2013 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

        Hightackle, I don’t take it as an attack, I think it is a prediction that could come true. If the ARU don’t start taking the issues hampering the development of the Force seriously, I don’t know how long they can survive either. They have so many things stacked against them: unmatched travel pressure, no international recruitment concessions (enjoyed by the Rebels), only a few boarderline Wallabies and therefore hardly any extra funds above the salary cap (compared to the Rebels and Brumbies with 8 each, Reds and Tahs with 12-16each), distance to the national academy with no funding for their own, only $250k for all of WA state rugby development; do I need to go on?

        Until the ARU get serious about evening up the playing field in funds and talent distribution then the Force will always struggle. They have passionate local support but that gets tested further every year that results aren’t forthcoming.

        • January 27th 2013 @ 3:04am
          Hightackle said | January 27th 2013 @ 3:04am | ! Report

          Do you think the ARU has cut the Force loose and has said “sink or swim”?

          • January 27th 2013 @ 3:18am
            AndyS said | January 27th 2013 @ 3:18am | ! Report

            I’d say they said that in 2006…

            • January 27th 2013 @ 11:18am
              Blue Blood said | January 27th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

              I’d say that for sure. I think the ARU only reluctantly awarded the franchise to Perth due to pressure from Foxtel. Having the 2-3hour time difference meant that they could show more live rugby in peak times. Clearly illustrated by their love affair and favouritism shown to Melbourne (an east coast kindred spirit) who got every concession under the sun when they formed. They recognised that what they had done during the formation of the Force didn’t work; but then did nothing to help turn things around in the West.

              Perhaps they were worried. In the first year the Force had the most members of any Australian franchise bar none. They are down to 10,000 faithful. Perhaps they got nervous?

              Until the ARU truly represent the interests of all states equally the Force will continue to struggle.

        • January 28th 2013 @ 4:07am
          Shop said | January 28th 2013 @ 4:07am | ! Report

          Can anyone explain why the Australian Super teams are under a salary cap???
          I can understand that in RL for example they want to keep the teams competitive but I would have thought the last thing needed in RU are restrictions. Do the NZ and SA teams also fall under this?

          • January 28th 2013 @ 8:09am
            mania said | January 28th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

            cant speak for SA but no NZ doesnt have this. salaries are controlled by the NZRFU thru centralised contracting

    • January 27th 2013 @ 11:00am
      Crazy Horse said | January 27th 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

      The ARU have NEVER given Rugby In WA a fair go. When I played we all knew that even if you were the best player in the world the (Eastern) Australian Rugby Union would never pick you for the Wallabies. Even now we have Force players being told in no uncertain terms that if they want any chance of being selected for the Wallabies they have to play club rugby in Sydney insead of Perth where they ought to be.

      So my challenge to the ARU is


      Treat all franchises equally. Give the Force the same concessions as the Rebels and funding that enables the sport to continue it’s massive growth here (up 13% last year)


      Get out of the way altogether, abolish salary caps for everyone, let Rugby WA do it’s own thing including recruiting from wherever they like and requiring Force players to play their club rugby in Perth.

    • January 27th 2013 @ 11:23am
      kingplaymaker said | January 27th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      The Force kind of bring it on themselves though: look who they appointed as coach!

    • January 27th 2013 @ 8:49pm
      Hightackle said | January 27th 2013 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

      The Gold Coast Wave?
      The North Sydney Wasps?

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