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Western Force coach undecided on future

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    Western Force coach Dave Wessels says he won’t make a decision on his future until hearing more details about Andrew Forrest’s breakaway rugby competition.

    The Melbourne Rebels are reportedly keen to lure Wessels to the club as their new head coach following the departure of Tony McGahan.

    Should Wessels head to the Rebels, a host of the Force’s best players could follow him there in what would be a major boon for the Melbourne franchise.

    The Force will no longer compete in Super Rugby after being axed by the ARU.

    RugbyWA’s Supreme Court appeal failed to overturn the decision.

    In the wake of the Force’s axing, Forrest vowed to launch a breakaway rugby competition that takes in teams from the Indo Pacific region.

    Teams from Japan, China, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Singapore, and Hong Kong could feature in the competition

    Initially, it seemed like the new league would be in direct competition with Super Rugby.

    But Forrest has since offered an olive branch to the ARU, with the competition expected to be played at a different time to the Super season.

    If that’s the case, it could leave the door open for Wessels to coach the Perth-based team in the new competition, as well as the Rebels.

    Forrest is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday to unveil more details about the competition, and Wessels will hold fire on any decisions until at least then.

    “I’m very flattered that there’s some interest in me from different places,” Wessels said.

    “Just like the players, I want to make a decision with my family.

    “At the moment, we don’t have the complete information in terms of the alternatives.”

    Wessels, 34, is already rated as one of the brightest coaching prospects in Australian rugby.

    The first-year coach is settled in Perth with his young family, but he may find it hard to resist the lure of coaching the Rebels.

    “I feel very grateful for everyone in Australian rugby who has helped me,” Wessels said.

    “There’s a huge part of me that want to repay some of their faith in me.

    “At the same time, I have ambitions that one day I’d like to be among the best coaches in the world, and at the moment I think I’m quite far from that.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • Roar Guru

      September 12th 2017 @ 2:50pm
      Machooka said | September 12th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      Fair to say, and not in a nasty way, his immediate future has already been decided for him!

      • September 12th 2017 @ 3:14pm
        MrTommo said | September 12th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        It would be interesting to see how he goes at Melbourne, I think it’ll be a far tougher test of his abilities to get the side going. At the Force he was well respected by the players and supported by senior players, had the luxury of a group of players motivated to play for eachother and the team, and had some fantastic assistant coaches to help guide him. To create this culture in Melbs will be difficult initially, as there will be a few players who dont really want to be there (think Genia, who was very public about his desire to join the reds, as well as a whole lot of disgruntled Force boys), as well as the additional pressure of now having to justify their existence over the Force by having some immediate success. Could be a coach Killing move, but at least he is quite young.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 12th 2017 @ 6:04pm
          piru said | September 12th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

          I think he’d be crazy to leave WA till he knows for sure there’s nothing here for him.

          He’s a local hero here

          • September 12th 2017 @ 7:28pm
            MrTommo said | September 12th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            I hope so Piru, he’s got a young family that seems well settled Perth, surrounded by a great rugby community; I imagine it would take alot to uproot that. If Twiggy’s comp turns out to be reasonably appealing, and if the Force can offer him similar to what he’s getting now, it would be a no brainer to stay.

          • September 12th 2017 @ 9:15pm
            Ex force fan said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

            The Melbourne job has a lot of risk associated with it and may cost him his career. He doesn’t have a Hodgo to help him with player management and his South African style of no-nonsense leadership and brutal honesty will not go well with Genia, Stirsacker and other senior Melbourne players. As a South African he will always be an outsider in the Eastern States where even established coaches like Deans struggle. He is a very good coach but it’s just not worth it yet. Results will be expected very soon and if it is not achieved Melbourne may fall over as financially the franchise is still weak.

            If I were him I will stay at the Force and give someone else the chance to fail or wait for a better offer outside Australia.

    • September 12th 2017 @ 7:55pm
      Stu B said | September 12th 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

      i think Wessels is a strong and intelligent coach and can possibly turn the Melbourne Rabble around but he must be prepared to lose some skin to get there and no one else has had the guts to ask but is the ERU still prepared to subsidise their future $ losses which history show is even higher than the Reds or Tahs and while speaking of guts I may be wrong but no where has the official NIB test crowd figures been released,my guess is after freebees around 15,000 paying fans in the stands.The official figures just maybe another ERU secret?

    • Roar Pro

      September 12th 2017 @ 8:00pm
      Crazy Horse said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

      Meanwhile the EARU’s destruction of WA Rugby gathers place with the EARU sacking 20 staff (so far). Five have left, including CEO Mark Sinderberry with another 15 to go when the NRC season is over.

      So who is going to do that work with the Spirit and the development teams next year?

      • September 12th 2017 @ 8:22pm
        Train Without A Station said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

        Who works with the NRC teams in Sydney?

      • September 12th 2017 @ 9:17pm
        Ex force fan said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        The EARU have no real intentions to maintain the Spirit. Not a surprise that they lied again.

      • Roar Pro

        September 12th 2017 @ 9:42pm
        robel said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

        No surprise the ERU has continued to stab WA rugby in the back.
        When the Spirit finish this year 15 staff will lose their jobs. Looks like it will be the end of the road for the Spirit as there won’t be 15 staff re-employed to do the work.

        • September 12th 2017 @ 10:04pm
          Train Without A Station said | September 12th 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

          Continue to?

          They have laid off the people that were always going to be laid off when the Force were folded.

          You can’t keep blaming them for the same thing and try to frame it as something new.

          • September 13th 2017 @ 7:50am
            Ex force fan said | September 13th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

            Nothing new here TWAS just consistent lying from the ARU. I don’t blame the ARU for doing anything different to what they have done this whole year.

    • September 12th 2017 @ 8:00pm
      DavSA said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

      This past Sunday in an interview with The Sunday Times of South Africa he expressed his total dismay at the axing of The Force . Also said he would like to return to CapeTown some time in the future . I would love to see Dave as coach of The Stormers . He is young with a huge , huge coaching future ahead of him. Problem with this scenario though is he has a diminished chance of coaching The Boks due to political influences. He would be better off in AUS as his chances of a future Wallaby gig is really a possibility. Heck some would say he should already have the job .

      • September 12th 2017 @ 8:44pm
        In brief said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

        Would love to see Wessels and force players head overseas. Australia doesn’t deserve them.

      • September 12th 2017 @ 9:23pm
        Ex force fan said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

        Australia doesn’t have a good history with non Aussies national coaches. Deans was sacked and how many Superugby titles did he won? He was always an outsider and his treatment by the NSW ans QLD players and administration have been disgraceful. I think Wessels need to be realistic as his only chance to become the Australian coach is to coach NSW. There is no upside in the Rebels coaching position just downside.

        • September 12th 2017 @ 10:53pm
          DavSA said | September 12th 2017 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

          Australia also do not have a good history of foreign cricket coaches .. Why is it ? Jake White did really good work with The Brumbies before being posted. Mickey Arthur had a huge track record with South Africa before taking the AUS job and…..being posted. He now coaches Pakistan with success. An argument is that foreigners don’t understand Aussie culture and attitudes. Find that quite lame . Must be another reason.

          • September 12th 2017 @ 11:33pm
            Mr Tommo said | September 12th 2017 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

            Dave, as a South African born and raised, living in Perth for the last 20 years i can confirm it is a cultural attitudes and clashes, particularly with young people in professional environments. South Africans are typically raised in more regimented, structured set ups that promote discipline and hard work (just my experience, may differ), Aussies i find are encouraged to think more creatively and question rules and laws. When the two come together, conflict usually arrises; I think Wessels got the blend right because A) Alot of the Force Juniors are not actually born and raised aussie and B) he respected and encouraged opinions of the Force senior players which ment he had a means of effective communication and conflict resolution.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 12th 2017 @ 8:46pm
      Paul D said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

      I think Wessels future as a great coach needs to be judged on a “standard” year. How much of his success was down to the Force just running on emotion, fighting for their life? Would he have got as much out of them if it was just another year? Time will tell with his next post. I also think Bakarat could have being a big influence. It’d be good to see him remain in a position of influence somewhere too.

      • September 12th 2017 @ 8:58pm
        Fionn said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

        Paul, you could be right, but they were already looking better at the start of the year and did nothing but improve throughout. They could have easily beaten both the Tahs in Sydney and the Brumbies in Canberra but for a bit of poor luck in both matches.

        • September 12th 2017 @ 9:28pm
          Ex force fan said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

          His ability to cope with a severe injury toll and continue to develop young players under enormous pressure of being the coach of the team that the ARU targets must be incredibly difficult. The Revels fell apart under an established coach while Wessels managed to keep the team focused. His a good coach however the Rebels role is for a coach like Meyer, Jones, Deans etc that is well established. Genia, I predict, will be a handful…

          • September 12th 2017 @ 9:41pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:41pm | ! Report


            As I have repeatedly pointed out, the Rebels had a severe injury toll.

            The Force did not.

            The Force used 2 players outside their squad for a total of 11 appearances.

            The Rebels used 7 players for something like 50 appearances.

            That’s a severe injury toll.

            • Roar Pro

              September 12th 2017 @ 11:53pm
              Crazy Horse said | September 12th 2017 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

              BS TWAS. Yes the Rebels had a massive injury problem but so did the Force. At one point there were more first choice Force players on the injured list than in the 23. Kids in the extended squad got a lot of game time that was never expected. We even had to import a player from Scotland as injury cover.

              • September 13th 2017 @ 9:15am
                Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

                The Force used 2 players outside their officially announced squad…

              • September 13th 2017 @ 9:26am
                Fionn said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

                TWAS, I think it is fair to say that both teams had a severe injury toll.

                The fact that the Rebels’ injury toll was more severe doesn’t change that the Force had a pretty bad injury toll too.

              • Roar Guru

                September 13th 2017 @ 10:20am
                Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                Well no it’s not really fair to say that.

                Unless you say the Brumbies had a server injury toll, the Reds did and the Tahs did.

                Every team used players outside their main squad.

                For the Brumbies it was players like Issac Thompson, Andy Muirhead and Ryan Lonergan.

                For the Waratahs it was Dave Lolohea, Mack Mason and Maclean Jones.

                For the Reds it was players like Kirwan Sanday, Hamish Stewart and Phil Kite

                Every team had a number of players out at one time and as a result gave game time to players outside their main squad. This is not a unique situation that the Force hit.

            • September 13th 2017 @ 12:26am
              Ex force fan said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:26am | ! Report

              The Force injuries included all their most experienced players including McCalman the captain that could not play a single game. Game after game we had to play players with no superugby experience and still managed under a good young coach.

              The Rebels coaching position is a poisoned chalice for whoever take it. The 15 Force players that the Rebels target should consider if they really want to play for a team that will have to rebuild from scratch, will have enormous and unrealistic pressure to justify their existance and is likely to fail financially.

              • September 13th 2017 @ 9:08am
                Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                Actually McCalman was co-captain with Heath Tessman.

                The Rebels had Sean McMahon had unavailable for most of the year.

                Toby Smith missed 10 weeks.

                Don Shipperly missed the entir season. Laurie Weeks half the season.

                Stirzacker, Fainga’a and Timani all missed games. Doesn’t leave a lot of experience…

                Every team gets injuries. Every team calls the odd player outside the squad up.

    • September 13th 2017 @ 9:06am
      Nobody said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      Wessels should do anything but become a scapegoat coach for the Rebels’ losses. As much as he may be respected in WA, if he moves to Victoria he will become a clear target for those resentful of outsiders – the publicity from taking the position will ensure it. That’s unless he really can turn the Rebels around, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

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