Force finalise squad as grassroots campaign gains momentum

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Force has confirmed its 2017 squad, as its campaign of grassroots ownership gains traction.

WA’s Super Rugby franchise has gone on a recruiting spree in the off-season, bringing some big names to the club, including the shock addition of capped Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau to the squad.

The Force has also moved to lock down some local talent, in a bid to show the quality of WA talent amid rumours of its potential axing.

The future of the Super Rugby structure beyond 2018 is yet to be confirmed and reports have suggested the Force could be the casualty of a compressed competition.

In a bid to show support for the club, the Force opened up the opportunity for people to buy ownership stakes in the club, with 5000 certificates at $1000.

Current and past players and WA community figures have been vocal in their support of the campaign and more than 6000 pledges have been made since the announcement of the radical move.

Next season will be a vital one for the Force and coach Dave Wessels said  the products of the western talent routes was only starting to be discovered now.

“Super Rugby is only 11 years old in Western Australia and the players coming through now were only eight or nine years old when the Force began, so we are now starting bear the fruits of having a Super Rugby team in the west - and the first wave of players that have come right through the pathway to the Force,” he said.

Attack coach Shaun Berne said the new additions would create some competition in a squad that has lacked attacking spark in recent years.

“I think the squad has probably got more depth then there might have been in the past. Each position has some serious competition with a number of guys eyeing off the starting positions.”

“We have some high quality guys coming into the group and that will put the pressure on players to maintain their positions in the starting team, I think that healthy competition is a huge positive for us as a team.

Force 2017 squad

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Richard Arnold, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Kane Koteka, Ben Matwijow, Ben McCalman, Isi Naisarani, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Brynard Stander, Heath Tessmann, Francios van Wyk, Shambeckler V

Backs: Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Robbie Coleman, Peter Grant, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jono Lance, Ryan Louwrens, Semisi Masirewa, Bill Meakes, Luke Morahan, Chance Peni, Ian Prior, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru