West Australian rugby razed

robel Roar Pro

By robel, robel is a Roar Pro New author!

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108 Have your say

    Rugby union in Western Australia has been abandoned by its supposed parent union, which must now be known as Eastern Rugby Union.

    The blatant and unnecessary extermination of the Western Force, the vital and only – but now extinct – Western Australia team has eliminated a pathway for young WA players to the national side.

    This most appalling and gratuitous act of self-destruction must be acknowledged as one of the greatest betrayals of a parent body on one of its subsidiaries in the history of Australia sport, probably a first.

    I am a Western Australia-bred player, my mother is a second generation West Aussie and my father in an Australian of the AFL persuasion. My brother and I are unequivocally rugby players, coaches and supporters – until now.

    All the great cultural attributes that I associate with rugby union have been abused by the new ‘ERU’. Mates on your team are meant to back you up, ruck over you to protect you, give you an encouraging word if you drop a pass, lift you in the lineout and bring you back to earth safely.

    There is plenty of opportunity for bastardry during a game, but rarely are any of those chances serized. Yet here we are. Betrayed.

    In hindsight none of this is surprising. It has been evident that ERU, over the entirety of the history of ‘Australian’ rugby union, has been at best indifferent, but this must now be seen as deliberate neglect towards Western Australian rugby.

    It must be acknowledged that even the awarding of the fourth franchise to Western Australia over Victoria was begrudging, especially in comparison to the concessions, money and hubris given to Victorian Rugby Union when awarded the Rebels franchise. This was the harbinger of the ERU’s betrayal of RugbyWA.

    I feel so utterly betrayed, so absolutely eviscerated and flayed by the ERU; my first feeling is disbelief of the foolishness of alienating the third largest source of registered players in the nation.

    Beyond the disenfranchisement of 10 per cent of the resource – WA has twice as many registered players as the next state – the state with only two AFL teams, one national football team and no NRL teams, cutting the Western Force is incredibly short sighted.

    Three questions have to be asked:

    1. Does anyone in the ERU really think it can take back this sort of opportunity or community support whenever it wants?
    2. Does the abysmal funding Western Australia has received relative to all over states now decrease further?
    3. Does the ERU only think of New South Wales?

    I can only assume the answer to all three question is ‘yes’.

    The only possible conclusion that can be drawn from all this is the ERU headquarters does not act for the promotion of the game at a national level.

    (Image: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

    The pathetic arguments for reducing the Australian conference to four teams have been shown to be absolute guff.

    First, the rugby public of Western Australia will not forget. We, whether born here of WA parentage or of our own volition, have been burnt, betrayed, stabbed in the back and are not likely to forgive in a generation.

    Second, the remaining teams will be stronger for only one or two seasons before reverting to the current or a lower ranking due to the reduced player pool.

    Third, the Force are financially secure beyond the level of all other Australian Super Rugby teams for the next dozen years.

    Four, the Force, full of locals and fringe players from the other states, at two-thirds the cost of NSW and Queensland, humiliated both states to win as many games as the Australian conference winner this year.

    Finally, fifth, allegations of a drain on ERU finances by the Force have been shown to be rubbish, and the greatest drains on the adminstration’s purse are still there and likely to become only more needy, no doubt to the further impoverishment of rugby in Western Australia. This was laid bare by the financial investigation by Alison Foskett posted on the Green and Gold Rugby website earlier this year.

    The huge sums of money spent on, the debt forgiven for and the probable future bailing out of the Rebels makes this argument by the ERU seem farcical. In the space of five years they have consumed more money than the Force has in 12 years.

    Where to now for the West Australian rugby fraternity?

    We enjoy rugby and will continue to do so, but we will not be Australian rugby supporters when Australian rugby does not support us.

    I hope my son and his mates will continue to enjoy rugby – playing, watching and mixing with others around the world – but I’m sure he will never feel as proud of the Wallabies from now on as he did before.

    This is the legacy Bill Pulver and his cronies have bequeathed Western Australia rugby, and it is a poison that could afflict the rest of Australian rugby as well.

    I’ll continue to be involved at a club level, but not for the ERU. I’ll be encouraging the local kids to go to France, England, Japan – wherever. The cost would be the same as heading to the east coast, but the experience would be a lot more fun and profitable as the opportunities inside Australia have just been slashed by 20 per cent, the weighted effect in Western Australia by even more.

    I can barely see myself barracking for anyone else other than the Wallabies, but it will be muted, even though I wish the very best for the West Australians in the side – though I’m sure there will be fewer of them over the coming years. I can see my support waning more as fewer have the opportunity to make it.

    The ERU board – all of them bar Geof Stooke – should be ashamed of themselves, and none of this Sydney-based administration is welcome in Western Australia anymore.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (108)

    • August 13th 2017 @ 10:48am
      Bill larkin said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      If only the passion shown by Force supporters on the Roar was reflected in bums on seats and viewers…….

      Economics killed the Force, nothing else.

      • August 13th 2017 @ 11:10am
        Hannes said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Nonsense Bill, if it was economics the Rebels would be axed as they are owned by the penniless VRU and is totally dependent on finance from the ARU and do not even have a main sponsor. The Force has more than $8million in the bank with the assurance that any losses will be covered by a billionaire and the richest sponsorship of all the WA teams. This is an injustice and you know it.

        • August 13th 2017 @ 12:45pm
          Bill larkin said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          Get your facts right Hannes. The Rebels are owned by the Imperium Group. Far from penniless.

          • August 13th 2017 @ 12:55pm
            Sheikh said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            Bill, Imperium sold the Rebels to the VRU for $1 last week. Don’t you read the news?

          • Roar Rookie

            August 13th 2017 @ 12:55pm
            Kirky said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            Get your facts right Bill Larkin the Rebels are owned by the defunct VRU, Cox sold it to the for a buck remember! Get your facts right buttercup!

            • August 13th 2017 @ 6:40pm
              Muzzo said | August 13th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

              Hi Kirky,

              Yep mate, in my opinion, & if I was one of the one’s that copped the rough end of this pathetic deal, I would be looking else where. Elsewhere, where the ARU, would realise, that it is their loss. Perhaps, franchises in the Republic, NZ or even further afield, but then there are some players that are firmly rooted in the West. Tough on all those poor buggers, the way this has happened, & now we have the likes of Kearns putting his hand up, to replace Pulver. FFS. Certainly doesn’t get better!!! Cheers Bro.

          • August 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm
            Ben said | August 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            Clearly up to date with the news…from a fortnight ago

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 11:04am
          Train Without A Station said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          No they wouldn’t. Because there no legal mechanism to cut them.

          Forrest’s backing occurred after the decision to cut was made. Cutting any other team was not possible.

      • August 13th 2017 @ 11:53am
        stagman said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        Bill Larkin, if lack of bums on seats was the criteria, then the Brumbies should have gone long ago. look at the recent 1/4 finals game (that they stole from teams on more comp points) against the Hurricane, pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!

      • August 13th 2017 @ 1:36pm
        Ben said | August 13th 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        This is a great line taken directly from the EARU, supported by 0 facts

      • August 13th 2017 @ 6:19pm
        adam said | August 13th 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

        no it didnt, they had support check the numbers. Better then the tahs and not as broke as the Brumbies

        • August 13th 2017 @ 10:55pm
          Bakkies said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:55pm | ! Report

          The same Brumbies that made a profit this year?

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 10:51am
        Timbo (L) said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        Bill you are right. it was economics. But not the Force’s.
        The ARU are going broke, not the Force and they needed to cull a side, any side.
        The Force were the most conveniet.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 11:00am
          Train Without A Station said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          Well no. When they culled a side the Force were $4M in debt.

          All teams are going broke.

          The Force are just the most convenient one that is going broke.

          Actually not even “just the most convenient”. Literally the only possible one.

          Since the decision to cut a team was made in April the Force have managed to secure their financial future through Andrew Forrest. But the decision had already been made and there was no alternative team the ARU could cut as a result.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 14th 2017 @ 11:14am
        piru said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        Economics killed the Force, nothing else.

        Incorrect – Forrest guaranteed the ARU no loss

        There’s literally no economic argument to be made.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 11:21am
          Train Without A Station said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          He guaranteed it after all agreements were in place to reduce teams though.

          The economic argument is the savings over the next year years.

          Force fans are creating a comparison to other teams but that’s pointless. No other team could legally be cut.

          Had Forrest backed the Force before April 9 it would have avoided the decision to cut, from which there was only one outcome. The Force.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 10:50am
      Stu B said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      PS also I don’t care to be named a mad man and measly (I did have measles as a child if that counts)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 13th 2017 @ 11:12am
      Kirky said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Hannes: Very well put article mate, and as I mentioned the other day, “if we all abandoned rugby holus bolus as we all should feel inclined to do at this stressful time, it will in a sense show the defunct ARU that we are lying down and beaten into the turf”

      I don’t need to add anything to what you’ve already said here as you’ve covered the facts brilliantly!

      I have a similar disposition to your own mate! ~ ”They can shove rugby right up where the sun don’t shine”, but if we all did that it would just lessen the awesome Fanbase of avid Force Supporters and show the killers of our identity here in Perth and environs, a sign of weakness!

      Obviously we can’t do much as individuals, but we can sure as hell let them know that we’re still around and not taking this rotten from the core decision to cut our Team lying down!

      Personally, I’ve grown up with rugby since the early 1940s during the Second World War in New Zealand and the game has pretty much dominated my sporting agenda as an absolute ‘rusted on’ follower of all things rugby, from the Five year olds to the All Blacks and any International team at all as long as it involved the game of rugger.

      I’ve seen it all over the years, and are obviously an All Blacks supporter and a Crusader, (Canterbury prior to Super rugby) and Taranaki as a provincial Team because that;s my home Province supporter and the Wallabies were always my Overseas team of choice providing they weren’t playing the All Blacks.

      I followed the All Backs and Wallabies as my preferred teams and when Super rugby came about I followed the Waratahs through and through, until, the Western Force came to fruition whence I changed allegiances to the Force as I live here in Perth these days having done so since 1993.

      The Force have given me immense pleasure over a trying period since their inception even though they’ve been shafted all over the paddock, year after year by the ARU in many ways, financially, Coaching Staff and it goes on, there’s no need to make things any more miserable than they are now so let’s just leave it at that!

      I’m hoping that the Force get some sort of reprieve as they should never ever have been cut in the first place for reasons we as Supporters know, so I’ll hang on in there in any interim!

      It’s very easy for me as I’ll just revert to my New Zealand preferences, nothing changes there, but if the Force don’t make it back to where they should be, ~ for all it’s worth to anybody else here in Australia, the Australian rugby scene will be a non event to me and the Waratahs can flounder around like they always have done meaning absolutely nothing to me.

      I don’t want to have anything whatsoever to do with Australian rugby in any shape or form!

      It’s all been said before and still is being said that ‘rugby in Australia is finished’ as I cannot see in any way whatsoever how the unworthy ARU is going to extract themselves from this mire, the damage is done!

      I hope Geoff Stooke rats on the ARU big time and shows them all up for what they are, and the truth of the matter gets weeded out re the so called financial gains they tell us all they’re going to get predominantly through cutting the Force,~ as there’s a long way to go yet in this shameful episode, and it could be imagined that some heads ”up there” are going to roll eventually.

      It could be hoped that none of the Force players line themselves up with any of the hopeless lot of the four sides left in Aussie’ ~ go elsewhere, anywhere else bar Australia, as there’s never going to be a future in rugby here anymore, ~ there was little future prior to this episode, but there’s a hell of a lot less now, and who, if they were honest with themselves as a player would want to line themselves up with the hapless Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies or the Rebels who should never have been there in the first place, and can anybody regardless of their affiliation to whatever team it may be here in Australia be honest with themselves and say their said team is or has been playing rugby worthy of top Super rugby status, ~ the best team got axed just check the stats overall from this Season past!

      Finally, where were the ”golden ones” of Australian rugby when this rubbish was taking place, Eales, Papworth and whoever else? ~ And I could hardly believe what I was seeing and hearing on Fox last night when Tim Horan, who in my view is up there with the very best of midfield backs that ever played the game and a wonderful guy in himself, speaking on how wonderful, excellent and brilliant job as Boss of the ARU Mr Pulver had done in his years at the helm of Rugby in Australia!

      I hope that fine ex player just washes his mouth out!

      • August 13th 2017 @ 11:17am
        Justin Kearney said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Beautifully put kirky.

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 12:03pm
        robel said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

        Thanks Kirky, you’re right about ensuring we all stay with rugby, the game, to thumb it to the ERU.
        We just need to let them know we have no time for their bastardry.


    • Roar Guru

      August 13th 2017 @ 12:16pm
      sheek said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report


      Very heartfelt article. I am also enraged despite being a Reds fan. But I’m a nationalist, an All-Australian first.

      Many Aussie rugby fans feel your pain. The thing is, what are we going to do about it? In a constructive way, that is.

      There’s only one thing these guys at the ARU & SANZAAR care about, it’s the cash register.

      It would only take one season of boycott to bring the ARU & SANZAAR to their knees, if not necessarily to their senses. After all, a moron is always a moron.

      To some extent it is already happening on the East Coast with fans abandoning the underperforming Waratahs & Reds & returning to watching district club rugby, subbies club rugby & schoolboys rugby.

      What Aussie rugby fans need to do across the country is collectively boycott super rugby for one season. Withdraw your Foxtel subs, don’t watch super rugby on any TV or live at the ground, don’t buy any jerseys, etc.

      If you don’t want to withdraw your Foxtel subs because of other programs, then just don’t watch super rugby for one season.

      Drive all the indicators of super rugby into the red. Drive them into the abyss. Only when their revenue streams have stopped running & run dry will the ARU & SANZAAR admit to their mistake.

      That’s the only language they understand – the cash register. Hit them where it will hurt them!

      We want to drive home the message to ARU & SANZAAR, that this is a pyrrhic victory for them. Make it not worth the cost & pain involved.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 13th 2017 @ 12:59pm
        Kirky said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Sheek!! Exactly cobber!

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 1:50pm
        robel said | August 13th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Absolutely right sheek, keep the passion for the local clubs.

        The ERU can’t reap what it won’t sow, there is no goodwill left this side of the continent for their bastardry.

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 11:39pm
        Crazy Horse said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:39pm | ! Report

        You can just cancel the sports package and still watch Game of Thrones which is what I’ll be doing when the Women’s World Cup is over.

    • Roar Guru

      August 13th 2017 @ 12:22pm
      sheek said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

      Another point is this,

      The Force & Rebel players, their coaches, support staff & families have been through hell with uncertainty for four months while the ARU dithered. Their treatment has been obscenely shameful.

      Now it’s time for fans to show some small sacrifice by giving up something they want, for just six months. No super rugby for six months, that’s all. It’s not much to ask.

      Send a message to ARU & SANZAAR, send them to hell!

      • August 13th 2017 @ 6:45pm
        Realist said | August 13th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

        Incredibly selfish Sheek
        These players don’t have a right to a job or paycheque – they have to earn one. Based on the performances of every single Australian team – it is obvious many are not worthy and certainly not entitled to one.
        You may accept mediocrity and enjoy the nice fuzzy feeling taking a Mother Teresa stance but it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to have to put up with this garbage.
        The players will step up or another team will have to be eliminated. I couldn’t care less what a useless journeyman thinks of losing his $400k salary for gross incompetence

        • August 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm
          Rhys Bosley said | August 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report


          You need to know what you are talking about before you make these statements, which you clearly don’t. The base wage for a Super Rugby player under the ARU CBA is $75k a year, $50k for a development squad player. Sean McMahon only got offered a $350k package so there are no “journeymen” on $400k. The culling of the Force is likely to cause significant financial problems for the lower paid players and their families, who have probably set aside other career opportunities to play rugby. They have been treated like dirt and that is why the ARU is so on the nose.

        • August 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm
          Rhys Bosley said | August 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report


          You need to know what you are talking about before you make these statements, which you clearly don’t. The base wage for a Super Rugby player under the ARU CBA is $75k a year, $50k for a development squad player. Sean McMahon only got offered a $350k package so there are no “journeymen” on $400k. The culling of the Force is likely to cause significant financial problems for the lower paid players and their families, who have probably set aside other career opportunities to play rugby. They have been treated like dirt and that is why the ARU is so on the nose.

        • Roar Pro

          August 13th 2017 @ 11:40pm
          Crazy Horse said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

          Clyne, Pulver and Co are on massive salaries they clearly haven’t earned

      • August 13th 2017 @ 6:47pm
        nigel brown said | August 13th 2017 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

        Sheek the best games to watch are indeed club rugby, played by amatures with the skill and passion that we dont see in aussie super teams.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 13th 2017 @ 12:58pm
      Kirky said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

      Onya Sheek and thanks mate!

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