Force spread the leadership load

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Saturday night’s Western Force match will be the first chance for fans to see the side's experienced trio of recruits in action.

The Force have added experienced heads Jono Lance, Ben Tapuai and Peter Grant to not only add depth on the field but also help develop its young backline off the field.

Force coach Michael Foley has been impressed with the three since they arrived in Perth, helping the team share the leadership load.

“The three guys you’d speak about first are Jono, Ben and Peter. We said one of the things that hit us a lot last year was Matt’s absence in injury,“ Foley said.

“We needed to develop leadership throughout the whole team which we’ve worked hard on, but also getting some Matt Hodgsons in the backline.”

Foley acknowledged the struggles his team faced in 2015 with Hodgson being ruled out for a majority of the season through injury.

While the new recruits play a different style of Rugby to Hodgson, their leadership skills have been invaluable for the Force captain.

“I’m not sure our backs wouldn’t want to be likened to Matt as Rugby players but those three guys have been fantastic in terms of their leadership,” he said.

“Jono and Pete firstly, just the absolute certainty they bring to the team on the field.”

“I think Ben has been fantastic, he’s two players out from those guys at 13 and his communication and the work off the field with the younger guys has been fantastic.”

In another boost for the Force, Wallaby Ben McCalman has arrived home after a six-month stint in Japan and is on track to return to Super Rugby in the coming weeks.

“It’s good to have him back this week. There’s been so much in the last six months since he’s been away,” Foley said.

While McCalman returns for his seventh season with the Force, Foley has said McCalman had already noticed a few changes around the club.

“When you’re living it every day you don’t necessarily notice the changes as much,” he said.

“To have someone that has been at the club for such a long time come back after a six month period and see the difference, I think he’s noticed significant change which is a good thing.”