The Force finished their season on a high, with a 40-11 win over the Waratahs
What are we talking about after that final Australian match of 2017?
1. Emphatic message from Force
There were 10,384 at nib Stadium on Saturday night, their second-largest crowd of the season, and it was the hardiest who turned out for the match up that could be the Force’s last. Though there are plenty more elements to play out yet, the Force did everything on-field to try and plead their case. Though the on-field elements may pale in comparison to the business argument, a second-place finish in the Australian conference is all the players could do. If this is the end, they could not have finished things in a better way than this.
3. A full stop but no exclamation mark for Tahs
The Waratahs’ 2017 is over and there are few who will be sad to see the back of it. Perth provided another disappointing night for NSW, who struggled from the same issues they’ve had all season, struggling to get off the mark and letting the Force in after just 52 seconds. Things never got better from there, with the home side controlling proceedings.
4. Hats off for Hodgo
Matt Hodgson has been the face of the Force for so many years now, embodying the side’s gritty reputation. The flanker’s impact on the club was laid bare against the Waratahs, with a minute’s applause in the 7th minute and players all donning a special Hodgson jersey. The 34-year-old said on Tuesday that a win over the Waratahs at home would be the best way to end his career. Add to that a record margin and highest score against NSW. Fairytales don’t get much better than that.
4. Wessels thriving in the west
The Force and Waratahs played in round one in a wet, slow contest. Five months later, the conditions weren’t entirely dissimilar but the Force came out well on top. Coach Dave Wessels has spoken all year about an 18-month plan for his team and though this was against a mediocre Waratahs side with little to play for, it’s hard not to wonder what this team could do under his guidance.
5. Folau from 50? Not quite
The Waratahs had one last trick up their sleeve against the Force, as they looked for the posts more often than they have for much of the year. Waratahs captain Michael Hooper had no qualms backing Folau’s skills with the boot, with the fullback potting them in training plenty. It fell just short, but look out for that again in 2018.