Force interim coach Dave Wessels says the club is at the start of a journey but confirmed they will be progressing without boom centre Kyle Godwin.
Godwin, who had a spectacular try disallowed just before half-time in the Force’s 24-10 loss to the Brumbies, has reportedly signed with the ACT franchise for the 2017 season and Wessels gave the first official indication that the rising star was moving, speaking post-match.
He’s not the only Force player departing the franchise this season, with Chris Alcock, Guy Millar and Rory Walton also among those heading cross-country and overseas, while the future of injured captain Matt Hodgson is yet to be confirmed.
Wessels said a move would be beneficial for 23-year-old Godwin, who has spent most of his life, and his entire playing career in Western Australia.
“I think Chris and Kyle and Rory and Guy the guys in our matchday 23 this week that have played been a massive part of our team,” he said.
“They’ll always be a part of our team. Particularly for Kyle a move is going to be a good thing for him, not just from a rugby perspective but from a lifestyle perspective.
“I think he’s excited about being away from Perth, he’s always lived in Perth.
“Having said that, what we feel like is what we’ve got particularly in our backs, a particularly young backline that is starting to gel and work together.”
The Force gleaned just two victories from a season that was a roller coaster on and off the field, with coach Michael Foley also departing in June.
Wessels has put his hand up for the permanent position but said whoever took over the job full-time, an appointment that could be shaped by the Queensland Reds’ imminent coaching announcement, would continue on the same path.
“I think whoever comes in as the coach, for us we feel like it’s the start of a journey,” he said.
“We quite radically tried to change our game at the start of this year and it’s not evident to everybody but we certainly are making progress in a lot of key areas.
“So for us to throw the baby out with the bath water would be silly.
“We want to keep going and that’s certainly been the message from the playing group.
“So, whoever’s leading us I don’t think that will change.”
Wessels said spirited showings in the past fortnight were a good start for the Force, who are still striving to change their reputation.
“Even though we didn’t win tonight I felt our game moved forward.
“Against the Cheetahs we felt we attacked pretty well and in very difficult conditions against the Stormers’ dominant pack we defended pretty well.
“Tonight, I felt we got the balance right. We tended to do a bit of both, probably not to the level that we need to but again it was a step forward.”