Western Force centre Kyle Godwin believes the side is perfectly positioned to build off their 'milestone' 2021, impressed by the new additions on and off the field.
With another year to build on their squad after their re-introduction to Super Rugby in 2020, the club have added some major pieces as they build for the future, headlined by returning Wallaby Izack Rodda.
Along with this, they have freshened up the backline with WA local Reesjan Pasitoa returning home, bringing Brumbies teammates Bayley Kuenzle, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Reece Tapine with him.
The 29-year-old, who played for the ACT side in 2018-19 in between stints with the Force and Connacht, was excited about what they could bring to the squad for their Pacific campaign and beyond.
“They’ve been great for us. They’ve come in and slotted in seamlessly into the backline,” Godwin told Rugby.com.au.
“It’s great to have Reesjan back. He’s a WA boy and both those boys plus Reece Tapine bring a world of knowledge from the Brumbies. They’ve come from a great program so they have their own ideas on how to play and they’ve been great for the squad.
“I’m looking forward to a great season from those three boys. They’ve had great pre-seasons, Reecey and Reesjan have been training well and obviously, BK has been off injured but he’s back into training, looking good so I’m keen to see how they go in the season.”
Godwin has been equally impressed with their additions off the field, with New Zealand coaches Mark Ozich and Paul Tito joining Tim Sampson's coaching staff.
Ozich has been particularly influential for Godwin and the backs, arriving from Hawke's Bay with plenty of success and fresh ideas to suit their style of play.
“The coaching staff have been great. They’ve brought some fresh ideas which we’re hopefully going to bring into the trials and hopefully, we can put in a good performance come round one,” Godwin said.
“Paul Tito’s had a number of years playing in New Zealand Rugby and coaching so he brings that wealth of knowledge to our forward pack and set-piece.
“Oz’s (Mark Ozich) been awesome for us in attack. He’s got a clear idea on how we want to play and the boys are enjoying it.
“He’s very strong on opportunity over structure. He’s got a set foundation on how he wants us to play but he’s very much on the path of eye’s up footy and playing that way which a lot of boys love to play. He definitely complements us and we have a great balance this year.”
REFRESHED: Wilson eager to impress
NEW HOME: Waratahs to be based at Leichhardt
RETURN HOME: Fiji lock in Suva game
The Force will continue their preparations in Western Australia, hopeful of making the trip east in February for a pair of trials before returning home for their season opener against the Brumbies on February 19.
Godwin and the Force are looking to best their efforts from last year, looking to match it with the best of the Australian sides before claiming a Kiwi scalp or two.
“Last year we were very competitive and obviously it was a milestone for the Force to make a final but we’re happy but not satisfied,” he reiterated. “We’re looking to go one better and make sure we push our case for the finals.
“We’ve learnt a lot from that season. We know that we can give the Aussie sides a go and when we’re playing our best footy, we can compete with the Kiwis as well.
“It’s a short but long season ahead. The Kiwis are still a long way away from us so we’re looking to implement our structures and plans in the trials and set a good foundation against the Aussie sides in the early rounds. Hopefully we can build into a nice side and give the Kiwi sides a run for their money.”