2017 Season Preview: Western Force

By Pete Fairbairn, 23.02.17

In preparation for the 2017 Super Rugby season, which kicks off tonight, RUPA are running the rule over a big year for each of the Australian teams; on and off the pitch!

With the assistance of Player Development Manager (PDM) Samantha Cox, here’s what to look out for at the Western Force, as they seek to return to finals action this year.

2016 RUPA Camp Attendees:

Jermaine Ainsley, Richie Arnold, Richard Hardwick, Ben Matwijow, Isi Naisarani, Alex Newsome, Chance Peni, Matt Philip, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Shambeckler Vui

2016 RUPA Awards Winners:
Matt Hodgson (Community Service Award)

2017 Recruits:

Robbie Coleman, Ben Daley, Ben Matwijow, Bill Meakes, Isi Naisarani, Chance Peni, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru, Shambeckler Vui

Most Impressive Newcomer:

“Two of the older recruits in particular, Ben Daley & Tatafu Polota-Nau, have been great; they’ve come in with a minimum of fuss and are just getting the job done,” Cox says.

“It’s also been great to see them feeling comfortable sharing their knowledge and experience with the younger guys; I walked in on Ben teaching some of the younger guys how to cook on our regional tour, and Taf’s leadership on and off the field is really plain for all to see. They’re having a big impact on the group and bringing their experience to the fore.”

It’s going to be a big year off the field for:

“Luke Morahan has come out of the blocks ready to go; he is in a really good place with his Rugby, and now he is beginning to transfer that across to his off-field life as well,” Cox says.

“It was a difficult period for some of our guys who suffered long-term injuries last year in Gussy Cottrell, Luke Burton and Francois van Wyk, but they were all able to channel their drive and motivation into their studies and it will be great to see them continue to do that in 2017.”

Describe your team’s leadership:

“Our official leadership council consists of (On-Field Captain) Ben McCalman, (Off-Field Captain) Heath Tessmann, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Tetera Faulkner, Dane Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Jono Lance, Billy Meakes and Tatafu Polota-Nau,” Cox says.

“Hodgo has been the spiritual leader here at the Club for so long, but Tess and Ben will revel with the opportunity they now have, and it’s exciting to see the continued development of players such as Tet and Gussy who have earnt their selection in the council through their continual development during a few years at the Club.”

What role are you playing to support the players to perform at their best?

“I am here to help support the players in getting their off-field lives together, so that they can focus on putting their best foot forward on the field,” Cox says.

“That means helping them to have settled home lives, which here in Perth is paramount when so many of them have relocated and many have done so with families. It is also about finding something to keep their minds of Rugby so that when they do leave the Force they are better prepared for that next step than when they first got here; that’s paramount for me."

List of those enrolled in study:

- Jermaine Ainsley (Cert III in Christian Ministry and Theology)
- Marcel Brache (Bachelor of Journalism)
- Luke Burton (Bachelor of Construction Management)
- Adam Coleman (Bachelor of Business)
- Robbie Coleman (Cert IV Government)
- Angus Cottrell (Bachelor of Property Development)
- Pekahou Cowan (Cert IV Building & Construction)
- Tetera Faulkner(Cert IV Small Business)
- Ross Haylett-Petty (Masters Finance)
- Matthew Hodgson (Cert IV Fitness)
- Onehunga Kaufusi (Cert II Business Administration)
- Kane Koteka (Diploma of Business)
- Ben Matwijow (Bachelor of Accounting)
- Ben McCalman (Cert IV Wool Classing)
- Luke Morahan (Bachelor of Business)
- Alex Newsome (Bachelor of Commerce)
- Tatafu Polota-Nau (Masters of Business)
- Ian Prior (Masters Exercise Physiology)
- Harry Scoble (Bachelor of Engineering)
- Heath Tessmann (Level 1 Financial Planner)
- Francois Van Wyk (Level 1 Financial Planner)
- Shambeckler Vui (Cert III Fitness)

Home Games:
- Thursday 2nd March vs. Reds
- Sunday 9th April vs. Southern Kings
- Saturday 22nd April vs. Chiefs
- Saturday 29th April vs. Lions
- Saturday 20th May vs. Highlanders
- Saturday 3rd June vs. Hurricanes
- Friday 7th July vs. Rebels
- Saturday 15th July vs. Waratahs

For more information on the Western Force, including player profiles, membership, tickets, merchandise and news, head to their official website.

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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