“An idiotic decision”: Forrest fires back after ARU axe the Force

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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102 Have your say

    Western Force benefactor Andrew Forrest has taken aim at the ARU in the wake of their decision to cut the team from the Super Rugby competition, and he hasn’t held back.

    Forrest said in a press conference on Friday that he would undertake to seek an injuction against the ARU’s decision to axe the Force.

    “We want leadership from the Australian Rugby Union, not cowardly litigation,” Forrest said.

    “But if they want to continue to fight us, we will happily take them on for as long as it takes.”

    Forrest took some significant pot shots at the ARU’s decision to retain the struggling Melbourne Rebels while dumping the Force.

    “This is like dumping the fastest improving athlete or the silver medalist from the Olympic swimming squad and leaving the worst performer in there,” Forrest said.

    “It is a ludicrous and unfair legal initiative by the ARU.

    “This would only get through litigation and never logic.”

    The Force finished second overall behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference this season, not only beating established franchises in the Waratahs and Reds, but significant strides ahead of the Melbourne Rebels.

    The Rebels finished at the absolute bottom of the standings in Super Rugby this year, recording only one win for the season and finishing with a -333 points differential.

    The Force finished with six wins.

    RugbyWA has said the following in a statement on Friday:

    “RugbyWA remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth.

    “RugbyWA is considering all options including bringing urgent proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW, and legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the Alliance Agreement with the ARU.

    “Whilst the board of RugbyWA is extremely disappointed with the ARU’s stated position, with the support of the Rugby community and numerous WA business identities including Mr Andrew Forrest AO we will continue the fight to retain the Force in Western Australia.”

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (102)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 11th 2017 @ 6:46pm
      piru said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

      Get ‘im Twiggy!

      • August 12th 2017 @ 8:53am
        Rob Sinclair said | August 12th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Western Australia doesn’t have the advertising dollar to compete nationally.

        Western Australia is a backwater and the reaction of fans here proves it.

        Throw your toys out of the cot. It doesn’t matter.

        Western Australia is not a market that attracts the national advertising.

        This is a money decision.

        • August 12th 2017 @ 1:21pm
          In Brief said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

          I’m a Waratahs supporter who feels exactly the same as the Force supporters. I am extremely angry about this decision and can’t see myself watching or supporting Australian rugby until it is reversed. The decision was wrong and came from Australia’s most corrupt state, NSW. We are corrupt on water, corrupt on waste, corrupt on development, corrupt on environment, corrupt on gambling, corrupt in sport. Now we poison the rest of the country.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:47pm
      Dave said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

      Good. At the very least make this a net financial loss for the EARU

      • August 11th 2017 @ 7:24pm
        Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

        Thai is what Sports means to me. Some fat guy giving it “the Bird”.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:49pm
      ajg said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

      as a tahs fan, I hope they succeed.

      as an aussie rugby fan, I hope that if theyre going down they drag the whole sorry edifice down with them. so that we can start again,

      because if theyre going to get rid of one of best growing grass roots movements in the country, then what will they bloody do next?

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm
      kingcowboy said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      Why is he now just turning up now to fight for the Force? All good to talk tough after the event why didn’t he put his cash in previously? Not trying to kick a team when they are down but why wait till now to show this fight? The money has to come from somewhere and I’m sure that the ARU aren’t doing this PR disaster just for the fun of it.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 8:05pm
        Mat said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

        As a Force fan I’ve felt exactly the same. Twiggy popping up at 2 minutes to midnight, jumping in the middle of post match huddle, after the last game, was all too little far too late. Where was he when the ground work was being laid for Own The Force campaign?

      • August 12th 2017 @ 9:48am
        Phantom said | August 12th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Exactly… another johnny come lately hero, grandstanding and soaking up all the limelight.
        Look at the free publicity he’s getting over the past week.

        • Roar Pro

          August 12th 2017 @ 6:41pm
          robel said | August 12th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

          Mat and Phantom, He, like everyone else in the West assumed there were actual measurable KPIs for the Force to pass before they were cut. It became apparent as time went on that infact there were none. Hence our (the wests) frantic late challenge to the corruption coming from the ERU.

          We all know in the west what has now been lost due to the ERUs poison, if only we’d realised it earlier.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 1:25pm
        In Brief said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        Who cares? The bigger question is why did the ARU stick to such a dumb decision? What criteria can possibly support it and how on earth is it best for Aust. rugby? Potshots at a guy who is fighting the good fight don’t make sense.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 1:35pm
        Rugby Tragic said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

        I also would like to add Cameron Clyne stated that Andrew Forrest came on the scene late. So what?

        The important thing is that he came on aboard when he saw the danger of being cut.

        Last minute saviours are heroes … ask any exhausted swimmer pulled out of rip by lifesavers.

        Ask any home owner who was in danger of having their house burnt down and all posessions lost but for the firemen who came along ‘at the last minute’ ..

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:57pm
      ajg said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

      Anyone up for starting a nationwide boycott? This is obviously the wrong decision from a national level perspective. Could we start a petition? so that fans from other vclubs and parts of the country could show that we also feel like this is the wrong decision (on basically every measure i can think of)

      • August 11th 2017 @ 7:01pm
        Weg said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        A nation wide boycott has been occurring for quite sometime- turnstiles don’t lie!

      • Roar Pro

        August 11th 2017 @ 7:09pm
        Crazy Horse said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

        Community clubs should refuse to pay the ARU Tax.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 12:12am
        Worlds Biggest said | August 12th 2017 @ 12:12am | ! Report

        Reckon you will see a boycott for Bledisloe Cup.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 7:26pm
        Rob said | August 12th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

        As a result of their (ARU) actions I think that will happen anyway. Bledisloe attendance this year will surely be at an all time low. A ‘financial decision’ that will hurt them elsewhere I’m sure.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:57pm
      Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

      Victoria is the biggest commercial and financial market in Australia. Rugby Union has to be there.If Rugby Union is to win the war; it must win Victoria.

      Western Australia is the back end of nowhere commercially.Winning Western Australia means nothing.

      Those are the commercial facts.

      It is; what it is!

      • Roar Rookie

        August 11th 2017 @ 6:59pm
        piru said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

        Ummm, no those aren’t facts

        • August 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm
          Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

          All the Advertising dollars in Australia are in Victoria and New South Wales. There are NO advertising dollars out of Western Australia.

          Western Australia may as well be Mars commercially.

          Those are the facts.

          You need to move to acceptance mode.

          Western Australia is small potatoes and commercially insignificant.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 7:07pm
            Dave said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

            Cut Canberra then?

            And if the Storm can’t get fans after all those premierships you think a team like the Rebels is going to make anyone care?

            • August 11th 2017 @ 7:14pm
              Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

              Money talks.

              Victoria has the chance to save Rugby Union with commercial endorsements.

              no matter how good the Force got’ there was no money in it.

              the West Coast of Australia is a useless basket case without any financial backing.

              Melbourne and Sydney are the only place there are successful advertising dollars to be made.

              They rest of Australia basically doesn’t exist.

              You may as well live on the Moon.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 7:16pm
                Piru said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

                Yeah we heard you the first time Cameron

              • August 11th 2017 @ 7:51pm
                Justin Kearney said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                Todd obviously doesn’t like perth very much.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 7:59pm
                Mel R said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

                TS mate! Your team came last! And won 1 game! Even the biggest Victorian Sponsor wouldnt want their name to be associated with that, right? The Rebels are going nowhere sorry to say…..

              • August 11th 2017 @ 7:59pm
                EGC said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

                Todd Shand they are not facts. Just your strong opinions. If you want to state facts, provide supporting documentations including comparative assessments between the clubs and between the two State rugby associations (wikipedia not allowed). Until then, they are not facts, they are opinions.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 8:03pm
                Mel R said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

                Todd Shand mate! Your team came last! And won 1 game! Even the biggest Victorian Sponsor wouldnt want their name to be associated with that, right? The Rebels are going nowhere sorry to say…..

              • August 11th 2017 @ 8:26pm
                Rupert said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

                Define for me, and the rest of us, ‘a commercial contract’?

              • August 11th 2017 @ 9:57pm
                Simoc said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                The Vics hate Union. 13000 turned up to watch the Wallabies play Fiji. How embarrassing when 85000 will turn up there to watch Brazil play Argentina at Soccer.

                And the Rebels team is a bunch of losers. Can’t think of to many sponsors looking for a hopeless team that is an embarrassment to the game.

                As for Forrest, well the guy just loves getting a headline.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 9:59pm
                Wallace footrot said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

                Cant stop laughing Todd, the Cowboys should never have been set up in Townsville…..yeh that wont succeed!

              • August 12th 2017 @ 6:56am
                Buk said | August 12th 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

                Just for a few facts in terms of Gross (State) Domestic Product as a % of Australia’s total:

                NSW 31.3%
                Victoria 21.9%
                Queensland 18.5%
                WA 17.1%
                ACT 2.2%

                Given Victoria contributes 21.9% and WA 17.1%, I don’t see WA as some sort of back water. In fact that logic points to ACT as the backwater.

                Also the Western Force’s support base is described as strong and growing; that would make sense, because in terms of GDP annual growth the figures are:

                WA 4.9%
                Queensland 3.5%
                ACT 2.7%
                Victoria 2.6%
                NSW 2.0%

              • August 12th 2017 @ 8:22am
                Art Vanderlay said | August 12th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

                Methinks some sandgroper ran off with Todd’s first love.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 10:31pm
              Ralph said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

              Storm is owned by News Ltd for pay tv purposes. ACT is a catchment area for southern NSW with rugby players. Its also to do with Victoria paying more for particular rugby test matches. It is to do with national advertising revenue including more from pay tv subscriptions.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 7:06pm
        13th Man said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

        No, Victoria already has 10 AFL teams plus an NRL team. WA has Two AFL teams and that’s it. There is more market in WA for a Rugby union side than in Victoria.
        And then there is the on field side of things where the force are way ahead of the Rebels. An absolute joke of a decision.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 7:14pm
        RahRah said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

        Where are these dollars? RABO did a runner and there is no replacement, so much for lots of dollars.
        These so called pots of gold in Victoria are a figment of the ARU’s imagination.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 7:19pm
          Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

          If they can get a foothold in Melbourne and increase viewing audiences to say 800,000 viewers per gane; then the next contract for Super Rugby might be $100 million more.

          If they are a success in Western Australia. viewing audiences can increase by 200,000 which is the most they can hope in Western Australia; the commercial contracts do not increase at all

          For Australian Rugby Union, it is Melbourne or bust.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 7:24pm
            RahRah said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

            Yep, works well for the Storm doesn’t it. Multiple premierships and still no one in Melbourne has a clue who they are. The Rebels naming sponsor has ditched them and they can’t find another. Two owners and two financial catastrophes – you argument has no basis in fact.

            • August 12th 2017 @ 12:05pm
              Dan said | August 12th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              Agreed wholeheartedly with Rah Rah

            • August 12th 2017 @ 2:35pm
              Justin Kearney said | August 12th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

              Nobody in melbourne knows who the storm are? What a load of garbage rah rah.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 7:25pm
            Dave said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

            800,000 viewers per game? Bigger chance of me sleeping with Kate Middleton

            • August 11th 2017 @ 7:35pm
              Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

              The Storm has a strong market in Melbourne. 20,000 every game. The second highest crowds in the NRL for the season.the Storm keep the NRL alive else it is just Qld and NSW and no commercial foothold in Australia

              The Storm are sweet and keep the NRL alive. Remember it is all about commercial ratings on the television.

              No good. You must have a foothold in Melbourne to be a successful league and code in Australia.

              If the ARU doesn’t get a foothold in Melbourne; then Rugby Union is dead in this country.

              For codes in this country; if you are not successful in Melbourne; you are DEAD

              • August 11th 2017 @ 7:42pm
                Dave said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

                And Canberra?

                If having footholds in the biggest cities is the key then how does Canberra make any sense?

                ACT is smaller than Tassie

              • August 11th 2017 @ 8:12pm
                Johnno said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

                Todd keeps dodging the Canberra/Brumbies question, showing his East coast Bias..

              • August 11th 2017 @ 9:46pm
                Bakkies said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

                The ACT region has more money and employment than Tassie. You also include the coast and the riverina which is a key development area for Aus sport

              • August 11th 2017 @ 9:44pm
                Bakkies said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

                This is the same Storm that was losing 8 million a year and propped up by News Limited

              • August 12th 2017 @ 11:58pm
                Mitcher said | August 12th 2017 @ 11:58pm | ! Report

                I think somewhere between this ‘Storm as saviours of the NRL’ and the multiple ‘Storm are a non entity’ posts above is the truth about where that well run (but operating in a challenging environment) club sits.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 8:59pm
              Boomeranga said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

              Find a new dream Dave. Personally, I was disappointed*.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 9:43pm
                Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                The Canberra Brumbies are a heritage team and are supported by the Federal Government which is out of Canberra. Hence they will always survive because they have Federal Government backing.

                Western Australia are backed by no one.

                Hence they are now DEAD


          • August 11th 2017 @ 7:54pm
            Justin Kearney said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

            Todd if they get 800000 viewers in melbourne that is twice the total number of viewers across super rugby each weekend in australia. You need a reality check big time.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 9:46pm
              Todd Shand said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              No, we need a dream and the dream is that without having a footbold in the biggest market in Australia, Rugby Union is buggered.

              without Melbourne success, there is no advertising dollars for the product.

              No one nationally cares about a Western Australian team or what happens in Western Australia

              Hence You are Dead.

              You guys need to understand economics.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 10:09pm
                Wallace footrot said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

                Your economics Todd is about to be tested by Mr Forrests economics…….choose your words carefully when you say ‘No one cares nationally about a Western Australia Team or what happens In Western Australia’, have some grace. The fire is still burning in WA, and there are a whole bunch of Australians that care a lot about what happens in WA.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 10:36pm
                Ralph said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                Well someone stuffed up and had the wool pulled over their eyes with the so called alliance agreement. I wonder if the ARU suggested it first? You need to get a right to appeal first.

              • August 11th 2017 @ 10:39pm
                Justin Kearney said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

                If thats your dream todd then wake up. Total garbage mate and demonstrates you dont have any idea what you are talking about.

              • August 12th 2017 @ 1:04am
                13th Man said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:04am | ! Report

                Considering mining in Western Australia props up the whole country a lot of people really do care what happens over here. If it wasn’t for WA the whole country would be broke.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 9:48pm
              Bakkies said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

              The Brumbies get the highest ratings. On pay tv subscriptions are more important

              • August 12th 2017 @ 8:58am
                Rob Sinclair said | August 12th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

                Todd is right guys and there needs to be a level of acceptance now.

                Good grace would be to listen to Todd and what he says.

                Economics drive sport these days.

                It is not the 1970s any more.

                Melbourne Rebels won because they are a better bet in relation to the national advertising dollar.

                It is plain and simple.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 10:07am
        Jumbo said | August 12th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Perth is afl country, the numbers don’t lie. We hardly heard or knew who the force were playing at home most of the time.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 1:27pm
        In Brief said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        And this is exactly the type of thinking that is killing this country.

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