Force send off a club legend in style... - Green and Gold Rugby
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Force send off a club legend in style…

Force send off a club legend in style…

This year has been an absolute shocker for Aussie rugby. With one exception. The massive improvement of the Western Force. They have embodied so much of what rugby should be about. Passion. Playing for your teammates.

When I look back on any positive moments of this year, I’m going to think of the final minute of this game, when Matty Hodgson stepped to the tee to kick his first (and only) penalty of his career, and his dad Max being helped up from his seat to watch.

We’ve been asking for passion all year. You want to see the difference passion makes to rugby? It makes you score 29 more points than the opposition.

Image Credit- Delphy

Image Credit- Delphy

The Match

The rain was pouring down at the Force Field at kick off, and the 10,384 fans who braved the conditions were treated to an emphatic first half. Just the sight of Matty Hodgson running out onto the field for the last time, holding both his kids was worth the price of admission. Then the match kicked off.

First minute. Try to the Western Force. And how fitting it was that it was two of their best young finds, Curtis Rona and rookie Alex Newsome who combined to put the home side in front. The stage was set.

From this moment on, the Waratahs looked shellshocked. I would have feared for any team going onto the pitch that night against a Force club this pumped up. But add in the fact the Tahs had been playing like rubbish all season, and things were already not looking for them. Bernard Foley kicked a penalty to reduce the margin back to four, but only a few minutes later they found themselves back down on their own tryline.

It was a farewell to forget for Dean Mumm (Image Credit - Delphy)

It was a farewell to forget for Dean Mumm (Image Credit – Delphy)

Once again, discipline proved costly, with Jake Gordon being sent to the bin. Then, the Force really rubbed their face in it, with Tatafu Polota-Nau reaping the rewards to a brilliant orchestrated rolling maul. Try time.

At the 34th minute, a scrappy period of play led to Marcel Brache rolling over the line to score. The TMO ruled as a try, and the Force had scored three tries in the first half to already have the bonus point. But they weren’t done yet.

Two minutes before halftime, the Tahs looked to have worked their way into the Force’s half, stringing together some phases. Then, the men from the west made mince meat of their attack, and passed it out to Jono Lance, who found himself on the wing. He was able to outrun Tahs captain Michael Hooper to score the fourth try of the game. The crowd were going nuts. You couldn’t be scripting this game any better as a send off for Hodgo. The Force went into halftime with an emphatic twenty point lead, and the emotions were already flowing.

Halftime: Western Force 26 – 6 NSW Waratahs

The Tahs already looked like they’d given up when they came out onto the field for the second half. If they weren’t thinking it at the beginning, they definitely were at the 44th minute. Straight out the gate, the Force worked their way into the Waratahs half, and managed to pull off one of the best attacking scrums I’ve seen in a long time to see the Waratahs cough up the ball.

Image Credit - Delphy

Image Credit – Delphy

Who grabbed it to score the try? Who else? Matty Hodgson. That was it. It was already game over. The crowd had lost it. The Force boys were all over it. Even the usually reserved Dave Wessels had completely lost it up in the coaches box. The Tahs had done themselves no favours, but this night was never going to be for them.

The Force were in complete control for most of the second half, which was capped off by two penalty kicks by Jono Lance to stretch the lead out to 31 points. Things were really looking ugly for the Tahs.

They did however finally manage to grab a consolation try in the 75th minute to Hugh Roach, but the Force fans didn’t even want to give them that, as judged by the roar across the crowd.

But the Force boys were not going to let the Tahs have the last say on an emphatic victory. They worked their way into the Tahs half and finally won the penalty in front of goal. Matty Hodgson stepped up, and with his family watching, and the roaring fan base applauding him, he summed up his career in one kick. The Force may have had plenty of ups and downs, but no one can ever fault the man himself. For every game he played, he nailed it.

Fulltime score: Western Force 40 – 11 NSW Waratahs

Hodgo's Kids take in the moment (Image Credit - Delphy)

Hodgo’s Kids take in the moment (Image Credit – Delphy)

The Tahs were, once again, woeful. They had their own farewells but, lets face it, it was never gonna be their night. They finish with their worst season in their history, and in my opinion, thoroughly deserved it.

But even Tahs fans have to admit, this was the Force’s night goddamn it! What a statement! In doing the match preview for this game, it was hard for me, a Brumbies supporter, to try and be balanced, because in all honesty I wanted the Force to win. The lads on our podcast who are die-hard Tahs supporters thought the Force would win. I even saw a couple of Kiwis wanting the Force to win. Even Tahs fans who commented online wanted the Force to win.

Because they deserved it. Because they have always been a passionate club. They have always been an underdog. But, they played out of their skin this year to prove they have what it takes to be in this competition. They may not have made the finals, but the Force earnt something big last night: respect from everyone in Aussie Rugby. Even the diehard eastern state rugby puritans can’t take that away from them. If that was (and I seriously hope it isn’t) the last time we see the Force take the field, then they went out fighting, and fighting hard.

Image Credit - Delphy

Image Credit – Delphy

For me personally, there was never any doubt in the my mind, but this has only confirmed it: The Force must stay (and that’s not me saying the Rebels should go by the way, I’ve always been a supporter of five teams, even after this year). The fact we even saw billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest chatting to the squad and pledging to ensure the clubs survival says to me (I hope) that last night was not a ending. That occasion didn’t feel like an ending of a club to me. It felt like a beginning.

Finally, it is important to remember that it was Hodgo’s night too. The man is a machine. He has been the face of this club all of it’s history, especially in the face of so much plight this year. He is the Western Force. A man who strapped on the boots and was all about the club. It’s men like Hodgo who serve as a reminder of how good it is to play this game, and how important it is. He won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Thanks for the memories mate.


The Game Changer

What game changer? The Force were in control the whole match! Okay, well if it was, then it was the statement they made in the first minute scoring that first try. It set the standard for what was to come, and made it clear to the Tahs that it wasn’t to be their night.

 G&GR MOTM

The entire Force squad? In all honesty, it comes down to two players, both from the Force. Alex Newsome was phenomenal in the backline for the men from the west, and capped off what has been a great rookie rugby season. And then, of course, how can we forget Matt Hodgson. He inspired everyone around him, and threw everything into this game. Well played lads.

 Wallaby Watch

Seriously, anyone reckon there should be more Force players in the Wallaby squad? The Tahs were a majority of the Wallaby squad and they were woeful. Jono Lance should be due for a call up after this game, even Alex Newsome showed some potential to be a Wallaby in the future. It was a great display of how far WA rugby has come.

 

 

THE DETAILS

Crowd: 10,384 that sounded like 40,000

SCORE & SCORERS

Western Force: 40
Tries: Newsome, Polota-Nau, Brache, Lance, Hodgson
Conversations: Grant 2, Lance
Penalties: Lance 2, Hodgson

NSW Waratahs: 11
Tries: Roach
Pens: Foley 2

CARDS & CITINGS

Jake Gordon (Waratahs) – Yellow 10′

 

Image Credits – Delphy

Thanks for the memories Hodgo (Image Credit - Delphy)

Thanks for the memories Hodgo (Image Credit – Delphy)


  • Woolfe

    OMG What a game. Awesome to be there, the noise, the atmosphere, final siren everyone stayed to be part of it. As Wayne said in the Paywallian, the Rugby Gods smiled down on the Force last night.

  • Simon

    Who was the Tah who conceded that final penalty right in front and kicking distance even for a forward? I’ll have to watch the replay but it does seem a little bit too perfect… maybe the Hand of God got a little help from the Hand of Man for that fairy tale finish!

    • Adrian

      Yes, I reckon decency prevailed!

  • Hoss

    First of all farewell and thank you Hodgo – sport rarely gives its truly deserving the send off they deserve, but great result for seemingly a great guy – enjoy the next chapter in your life.

    My Tah’s, well i am reminded of Year 8 English and the teachings of a Pommy Playwright, Bill something or other….’there is something rotten in the state of Denmark’. Now if you change ‘rotten’ to completely fucked and ‘Denmark’ to the Waratah’s then i believe we are on to something.

    Where do you start

    Fitness
    Talent
    Desire
    Coaching
    Game Plan
    Roster
    Succession Plans
    Administration
    Accountability
    Direction
    Leadership

    All are beyond repair with the current players, coach & administration – not every one needs go, but critically, there must be some substantial, high profile sacrifices at the alter of the Rugby Gods, because sure as shit it will be the same dribble next year if there is no action – i refer Newtons third law here – for every action thers an equal yet opposite reaction (you get my drift)

    Finally i leave you with the words of one of sports truly great coaches, motivators and man managers, Mr Patches O’Hoolihan to sum up the 2017 Waratah’s – ‘its like watching a bunch of dimwits standing round trying to fuck a door knob’

    Amen.

    • Adrian

      Your on the money Hoss, and I’m a Waratahs supporter too… whatever that means.

      The contradictions between the 2 teams in every one of your points were glaringly obvious.

    • Fatflanker

      Dunno where the ‘Tahs go from here. I like Gibson as a bloke and TBH Grey moving on can only see improvement next year but hard to believe Gibson hasn’t lost the change room with that insipid performance.

      • first time long time

        Although it’s probably more accurate that the dressing room has lost Gibson….. Same result in the end though.

        Can the ARU “pretend” they are going to cut the Wallabies after the Bledisloe! Maybe they’ll play as well as the Force did last night.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hoss you are so right.
      I actually think that the Tahs have some good skills and their play at times with their backs against the wall have proved it. However, their arrogance and inability to step up shows a real cultural issue. If they want to improve they need to change that area more than anything and if that means moving some of their “stars” on then so be it

      • Hoss

        Spot on KRL, the indefinable ‘culture’ issues. Its obvious to me you cant keep the people and expect a cultural change. I dont pretend to know the intimate details but one would suggest the players aren’t playing for the coach or the organisation. Rightly or wrongly Gibson must go and let’s start there, but it must be now so the incoming (Cronn ?) can make some off-season acquisitions / changes otherwise we can kiss 2018 off as ‘rebuilding’ and that’s an excuse too easily trotted out, Every bloody Super Rugby team is always rebuilding, it’s just those that that do it well ‘evolve’ the transition without anyone knowing (Saders, Hurricanes, Chiefs etc) as opposed to the ‘revolutions’ the Tah’s go through every 4-5 years where there is blood on the walls – constantly.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I’m not so sure it’s the coach. I see a lot of players who just aren’t performing week in and week out. Foley, Folau, Phipps etc all seem to operate as though their place isn’t and never will be up for grabs.
          Actually I’ll take Folau’s name off that list. While I think he’s a bit lost and could get more involved I do think he plays as though he cares.

        • Hoss

          Not sure i disagree at all, but sometimes there needs to be a human sacrifice that sends a blunt message to all that no-one is irreplaceable. If i owned the joint

          1. I would be talking to Genia and if good there then say bye-bye to Phipps
          2. i would cut Foley – full stop. The gap between his good and bad games is seismic. KB slots back in at 10 – that sparks Folau.
          3. I would go looking for some serious size in the Piggies – tah-tah to Robertson, the hookers, our 8, look for some work horses with grunt and size. If Hooper is to play as is you need an on-baller at 6 and 8).
          4. I wouldnt spend one cent on Nayavora (i know i misspelled it but i couldnt be bothered looking it up, looks like Tarzan plays like Jane – not worth 5 cents. Rebels to be cut – hello Sefa or Koribette
          5. Rebels out chase Parling and even Simmons – i reckon he has a point to prove.
          6. Give Kepu last written warning – shape up or piss off.
          7. Horwitz – i know he has signed for Rebels but please stamp passport ‘never again’ – worst player since Tom Carter
          8. Start with some fresh up and coming props – Angus Tayavo is the worst Super Rugby prop of all time !!

          Thats just a start

        • Adrian

          I think Genia would fit into the current Tahs culture unfortunately.

          I think his lack of urgency is one of the Wallabies issues.

          I’d go with KB as 5/8, move Naiyaravo to #8, get a league guy for defence coach and new ideas, and recruit Coleman as long term captain

        • Pclifto

          Totally agree re Genia. A once-brilliant player appears to me now to be lazy and has lost the zip that finds him getting charged down and off the pace.

          Not sure if it is a sense of entitlement and not being scared of being dropped, or being out of shape… maybe both

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think it is coming back up to speed after playing in the Euro league. I think by the TRC he will be back up to speed again. As some of the other comments above I dont think Genia is a cultural problem. Having met him many times and having seen him training with the Reds Junior rugby kids, he is not one of the Additudinal ones.

        • Perth girl

          Adam isnt going anywhere Adrian. Didnt you see the commitment on his face and in his play.

        • Hoss

          Fair call mate on Genia, on reflection I do recall screaming at the TV recently with him in gold.

          But, we Tah’s fans must insist on change – because if you don’t embrace change you are gonna hate extinction……

        • first time long time

          KB has failed at 10 everywhere except high school.
          I don’t think the worst winger in the country at 8 is your answer.
          Why would Coleman go to Tahs, unless the Force get cut or he is stupid.
          What on earth has happened to Jed Hollaway? He was great before injury last year and now is bog average.

        • idiot savant

          I still think Foley has a lot to offer. The Tahs wouldn’t have won the comp without him. But i’d start Mack Mason and put Foley on the bench every now and then to incentivise him. And it was KB following Foley that did the damage, not the other way around. If Phipps can get back to full fitness, he can still get the ball faster to the backs then anyone else.

          But I don’t think the problem is in the backs. Its in the forwards. I am coming to the view that the Hooper experiment is failing at all levels. Great athlete, huge motor, etc etc but not a 7. And without couple of really hard working breakdown forwards, the pack just can’t stop opposition momentum. This is as true for the Wallabies as for the Tahs.

          There also a question mark about attitude in the forwards. I think Hanigan has got potential but don’t you need to earn the right to give lip with your play first? At least Potgeiter had the workrate and physicality to match the mouth. I think Hanigan needs a better role model than Mumm. They could do worse than getting Dave Dennis back. Which brings me to Hooper’s captaincy. Didn’t I hear him say to a ref earlier this season that. “they won’t listen to me.”?

          My solution for a turnaround would be a forwards clean out, a proper 7, some workrate forwards (yes Simmons, he’ll improve the culture for one thing), a new captain, and yes a new defence coach.

        • Adrian

          A lot of points there idiot.

          I agree re captain, 100%.

          I’m not sure who, and certainly Dennis was good. From the current ranks I have no real idea, but perhaps Kepu. I think Coleman hasn’t yet re-signed with Force, and I’d try and get him.

          I’d rest Foley a bit, and think Wallabies could do similar. Mason fits the style/pattern.

          I’d definitely keep Hooper at 7, and try and get a couple of big locks. Wouldn’t have Simmons long term.

          Beale will help, and I’d have him calling the plays from 12 (defacto, on the field leader of the backs.

          I agree with getting rid of sub-standard players.

          Mending relationship with Latu is important

          …..I dunno….?

        • idiot savant

          We will have to agree to disagree re Hooper. I think that style of 7 scrambles the structure of the pack and leads to a whole lot of players playing out position. Ive said before we’ve never beaten the ABs with Hooper at 7 and without Pocock playing out of position. Then you have 2 short guys which compromises the line out etc etc. Choose Hooper at 7 and you have a ripple effect.

          I still maintain that the best Wallaby forward pack performance Ive seen since we last beat the ABs was against France in the EOYT. No Hooper, Pocock and Fardy in their natural positions. Dominant line out, giant French pack denied momentum, high workrate pack.

          But to return to the Tahs, I think they could turn things around quickly with less of a dickhead attitude, more focussed on work rate and led by a new captain that exemplified that. I think Hodgos available!!!

        • Adrian

          I think there are entitled guys, but really it’s got a lot to do with passion and on-field leadership.

          Much as I like Hooper (and some don’t) I’d replace him as captain.

          There is no-one obvious in the team, but I think Kepu and Folau would be better, … I’m not sure about Foley, but perhaps.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I think Foley is almost the biggest problem. Scores the odd good try but shit kicking and poor distribution really affect the team. No challenges so no need for him to improve

        • idiot savant

          I don’t think the forwards would listen to Foley (they don’t listen to Hooper). But it would be good for Foley’s game to be captain. Its not the answer to the cultural problem though.

        • Adrian

          Yes, it should be now Hoss, not 3 weeks into next season.

          As you and KRL have said, I think it’s clearly “cultural”, because on the odd occasion they’ve “clicked” and they’ve been on top of kiwi sides.

          I think they’ve missed the intensity, drive and defence of Phipps a lot, but I’m sure it’s much deeper than that. Potentially Gordon’s a better player, but Phipps never lets up, organising and driving forwards, and tackling (and not missing) everything in sight

        • idiot savant

          I think they are two different style half backs. Phipps gives the backs a better platform. Gordon has a natural instinct to run which doesn’t always serve the team as well.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure farking Gold Hoss!
      Uber tip of the hat!
      Any one who quotes Patches O’Hoolihan is a person I tip my hat to!

    • TouchFinderGeneral

      Bloody gorgeous, Newton & Shakespeare in the same post! But do those 2 deserve to be linked with the ‘Tahs in any way, Poms though they be? Few would deny the ‘Tahs deserve the rotten veg being hurled their way, but I can’t help feeling a little sorry for the useless buggers. I’d guess that at least some of what looks like lack of desire is really lack of confidence.

      But we can all celebrate that at least one thing has gone right in Aus rugby this year! MH more than deserves this send-off.

    • Tommy Brady

      Well said!!

      I still find it baffling that a team with a big chunk of the players that won the entire competition only 3 years ago can allow their standards to fall to such an extent.

      Yep – they’ve lost some key players, but what consistently good sides do not?

      Yep – the successful Head Coach got promoted, but that’s not unique.

      Yep – they’ve failed to evolve their playing style and that has left them vulnerable to getting picked off by the well organized sides (after all, it is a professional league they operate in here – hallo!!).

      What has killed them is not enough senior players have laid down the law in terms of expected standards. Standards of fitness, skills, attitude, preparation, desire, effort, behavior, teamwork, discipline, rugby intelligence. All the things you refer to Hoss.
      Performances suggest the senior players have been the biggest offenders. So you mail it in with Cheika gone and 1 championship won huh?? Says a lot really.

      • first time long time

        Given his charge of the Wallabies, there’s not much to suggest the Tahs would be much better off if Cheika was still there.

        Can’t imagine their style of play would have changed any… The wallabies hasn’t.

        Can’t imagine the personnel would have changed… He’s still picking the same guys for the national team.

        Can’t imagine the defence would be better…. He’s just employed Grey full time at the wallabies despite the poor defence of both teams he coaches.

  • Adrian

    Didn’t watch it, only read blog, but it seems “justice” was partly done.

    What a fuck up the year has been, and that includes every team except the Force.

    By my reckoning, there could/ should be 8 or 9 Force players in the Wallaby squad

    • Perth girl

      Missed a great game Adrian!

      • joy

        That’s for sure.

    • Ian

      It was special – looked a little BIL-like for mine. Hard forward hits, rush mid-field defence, kicking to grass then AB-like with passes sticking when on the move at pace. There were tears at our joint and joy for the courage they have displayed all season. BTW – The Aust super rugby teams performance against the Jaguars in Aust makes the Force performance in Argentina that much more special.

      • Julie T

        Agree with the comment about that away win in Argentina. It was a tough road trip but a gritty win and do much more special in light of the recent losses by Tahs & co at home

  • Tim

    Force finish second in the Australian conference yet will most likely have the least amount of players picked for the Wallabies. ARU is a joke

    • Adrian

      It’ll be interesting Tim.

      By my reckoning Cowan, TPN, Coleman, Phillip, RHP, Hardwick, Ruru (a bolter if ever there was one), Lance, DHP are all chances. That’s 9.

      These guys all bring with them a culture that the Wallabies desperately need.

      I’d have Coleman as captain too.

      I know it probably won’t happen, but the situation this year is far more dire than previously.

      Despite all of his faults, I also think that Cheika has a better understanding of community “politics” than Pulver or the ARU board

      PS I support the Tahs

      • Wolfman

        You can add Meakes and Rona to that list. Pek Cowan had a great season and is very underrated.

  • Tommy Brady

    For the 2nd time in a week we witness a side representing NSW lose to a team with less talent, but more heart. Andrew Johns is 100% correct – “they just don’t get it”.

    I have real sympathy for Matt Hodgson. In his last ever game against the Waratahs they showed him the ultimate disrespect by not even trying. Shameful.

    • Perth girl

      Less talent, you have to be kidding,right. Show some respect to the Force who outplayed, out-thought, outcoached and out-passioned a weak Tah’s team. Who would you choose for the Wallabies from the Tahs?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree PG. The Force were dominant in every area

      • Andy

        Agree. They have more talent imo. If the Tahs get the majority of the Wallabies squad again then Cheika and the ARU have lost me. I’ve always defended Cheika, like I did McKenzie when he was going through a rough trot but based purely on merit and principle none of these Tahs players bar 4, maybe 5 deserve to be in the Wallabies squad. Rewarding this level of failure would be unforgivable.

      • Tommy Brady

        You are absolutely correct – but many of those attributes you refer to are attitude, not skill. I never questioned the Force’s attitude.

        The Wallabies will feature 6 Waratahs. Folau, Foley, Phipps, Hooper, Robertson, Kepu.
        The Force will have 4 Wallabies. Polota-Nau. Coleman, Hardwick, D Haylett-Petty.

        Is what it is.

        • joy

          Add Ruru.

        • Perth girl

          And what is it then an ARU stitch up? That attitude of entitlement is the whole problem.Do Hooper, Kefu, Foley etc really deserve to be chosen?

        • Tommy Brady

          Entitlement feels a significant problem Perth Girl – as does a lack of competition in certain positions (and don’t get me started on the belief that it’s too easy right now to get a professional playing contract in Australia).

          Hooper, Kepu, Foley will get selected by Cheika because they have proven themselves to him at test level. At the end of the day Cheika has to pick players he believes can compete at test level. As hard as they may try, I’m not certain more than 4-5 Force players are international caliber quality. At that level, we both know you get found out – quickly!!

        • Perth girl

          I thnk we have been found out already Tommy!

        • Adrian

          I’m thinking this time around, it might be different.

          Strong possibilities are Cowan, Phillip, RHP, and possibly Lance and Ruru, who is a longshot. I like the idea of a big halfback in the squad.

          Despite all his other failings, Cheika likes ticker!

          Years ago I read that Cheika’s preferences in order were:
          Lotalty
          Class
          Ticker
          Cubic capacity
          Nothing else counts he allegedly said

        • first time long time

          How’s that working out for him?

      • Steve

        Hey PG I wondered if the Tahs actually know who each other are on the field ????

    • ForceFan

      If less talent equates to less Wallabies then I agree with you.
      It shows why the Wallabies are also under-performing.
      Selection to wear the golden wattle jersey used to be worth something!
      The ARU are quickly trashing the brand and the game!

      The team with the most talent, application of same, passion and desire to win easily won out last night.

      • Tommy Brady

        Excellent points. I think the blue NSW jersey used to be worth something too.

        The most disturbing feature of many of these Waratahs is the enormous variance in the attitude they bring from game to game.
        For this game, against this opponent, at this ground, for this occasion and for this coach and this jersey I bring Effort Level X.
        But for this game against this opponent, at this ground, for this occasion and for this coach and this jersey I bring Effort Level Y.

        Where are the personal standards? Where is the leadership group that demand those standards are met? Where is the pride in the jersey? Where is the effort for the great players who have worn that same jersey before you? Where is the effort for the fans and members you represent? Where is the inspiration and example for the young kids who aspire to one day wear that jersey themselves?

        The 2017 Waratahs have shown they have no standards, they have no leadership group, they have no pride in the jersey and they do not care for the old players, current fans or young kids. They deserve no respect. You earn that – and they’ve lost it all.

  • Fatflanker

    I admit it – eyes watered up to see Hodgo’s old man helped to his feet in the crowd…what a memory that will be.

    Force have the best coach in Australian provincial rugby, no doubt about it.

  • Andrew Miller

    Still on a high after last night. Woke up wondering if it was all a dream – I’m sure Hodgo will be thinking the same thing. Watched the replay and highlights
    No doubt the ARU will retreat further into their hole after that. Would have been nice if the Rebels had won their game too – from all accounts they did well too?

    • Julie T

      I’m right there with you! Such a good feeling after all the angst. Really did wonder at times if it was a dream. So many things came right to give Hodgo the send off he truly deserves. A man who always gave his all every time he took the field. Nobody has ever questioned his attitude. Just so pleased the whole team has come together over this season to put in a performance line that. As Dave Wessels often says we are truly building something special. More work yet to be done but to kill us off now would be criminal.

      I think it has taken this many years for the novelty and the fly ins who came for the “big dollars” in the early years to go. Now we have the nucleus of a team who wants to live in Perth (or grew up here in the first place). They want to play for WA and their truly have pride in their jersey. You could see that early in the year when Chance Peni grabbed the swan on his chest after scoring.

      Here’s hoping for more to come in 2018!!

  • ForceFan

    It was obvious at the ground that this game was over before the opening whistle. The body language of all the Waratahs was very telling.

    • Steve

      As was I and post game nonsense by the tahs going thru drills during interviews was an absolute disgrace who do they think they are and wasnt it a little bit late to sort that shit out

      • brokendown

        Steve,were you the person in one of the corporate boxes yelling out about the lack of respect for those players doing that?

        • Steve

          Ahh No I was in the bleachers and was not impressed by tahs players going thru drills they didnt try on field and it was disrespectful,by the way Ive never been a corportate nob ever

        • brokendown

          Not a problem- there was a guy in the corporate box above us saying the same sentiments as you but in fairly colourful language haha.dont blame the players they were put through those drills by the coaches.the rest of the tahs players stayed and showed their due respects

  • Gilbert

    What an inspirational leader Matt has been. Was raining in Tasmania and had a tear in my eye too for him. Go Force. Stuff the ARU and their defensive coach.

  • Steve

    Im a Waratahs supporter and have been living in Perth for the last ten years. I was at the game last night with The Sea of Blue, and unashamedly went to support THE FORCE because they more than the boring Tahs deserved it more so, for example WTF was the point in taking that penalty kick,why didnt you tap and have ago or is playing RUGBY to fuckin hard you over payed knob jockeys.
    Hodgo let me say you are the embodiment of what a true champion,sportsman and human being in this game is ,and my missus and I thank you for all you are and what you have done for The Force and Rugby.
    As for the woeful Tahs it seems the old saying “You cant shove brains in a statue” would be appropriate, so lets get rid of all the statues shall we ,wield the axe and start developing players locally and like the corporate world lets make the current and the new meet strict KPI’s as part of any contract and see if that doesnt sort some shit out.
    Thats my rant the further I go the crankier Im getting about the wahwahs.
    Well Done THE FORCE well done.
    Ps I agree with everything Hoss said

  • joy

    By far the biggest game changer to emerge last night was the appearance of Andrew Forrest in the winners circle after the match. His message was loud and clear – the Force is not for turning. The ARU can ill afford to ignore his message. Forrest is a man true to his word and has a track record of delivering on his promises whether they be to shareholders (aside from his initial cockup with Anaconda Nickel, bugger) or the beneficiaries of his social programs. A rugby development program for the wayward youth of the Kimberly would be nice.

    Having witnessed the Force emerge from a tough side to 5 tries to one winners this year it would not surprise me if they started to pick off a few NZ sides next time round. With Forrest backing the show the sky will be the limit.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well GAGR’s there is not much more to say than what our man Hoss said! (By the way anyone who quotes Patches O’Hoolihan is a farkin legend in my book! But here are my points on this game:
    – Waratahs were defeated before they even walked out. The looked like a defeated team, and their hearts are not in it. My ten year old said as the ran out, that the players looked like they didnt want to be there. Out of the mouths of babes hey!!
    – Hodgy is a legend and should be honoured accordingly!
    – The Force wanted it, and played like it, and have been the whole season! well done lads take a bow!
    – The Tahs players looked like they would rather be having the old inverted umbrella treatment rather than playing that game. Even the Tahs Wallabies couldnt give a fuck last night. Folau’s heart wasnt in it. Foley looked crap. It was sad. Players who you think should be manning up were just going through the motions.
    – Although the Reds playing standard isnt that much better than the Tahs, at least they were trying. Even when a big defeat was staring them in the face, they tried to the end. The Tah’s didnt give a shit.
    – Gibson looks like a dead man walking to me. The team doesnt look to be trying which means the coach cant motivate them. Personally I would be docking all of their pay cheques for that performance.
    – Finally Seeing Twiggy Forest getting involved is great. That man has significant political sway, and can definitely influence the ARU. I feel confident that the Force are going to be staying around.

    To end on a high for the season is great, and it is the highlight for what otherwise has been the worst season in Australian rugby history! We need a massive cleanout of shit house arrogant players in the Aus super teams. We need a clean out of shit house coaches. Dont even get me started on the administration.

  • Who?

    A few points…
    First off, well written Nick. Very appropriate tribute to the Force, and the heart of the club, Matt Hodgson.
    Second, congratulations to the Force. The team with the ‘poorest’ quality roster at the start of the year, the greenest coach. And I think the comments about the Tahs having more talent are accurate. The Force don’t have more natural talent than the Tahs – no question! But they certainly used a much, much higher percentage of their talent, which is attributable not to passion, but to great planning, application, and hard work. Passion’s great, but it’s the icing on the cake – not the cake itself. The Force ‘only’ finished second, and in a conference where even the leading team had a losing season. But they made great strides on so many levels, and they have the support of pretty well every Rugby fan in the country.
    Third, this is the fourth straight game where the Tahs have shipped 40 points. Great for the Force, but seriously, I don’t see how anyone can say this is anything other than a complete failure from Grey, and how anyone inside the ARU can do what none of us in the real world can do – justify his position.
    Lastly, the axing of a team by the ARU would be an extremely short sighted, short term move. But to justify the Western Force’s continuing existence off the back of last night – or even the last season – would be an equally short term, short sighted move. The results of a single season should count for little in making long term decisions. But the careers of players like Hodgo, Cowan, Brown, McCalman, JOC, Pocock, the strength of WA junior teams, the drive of the Perth Spirit… These are all things which justify a long term decision of planting a team in the West, and justify the continuation of that program. It’s paying off now – not just in beating the other provinces, but in developing players and building a genuine foothold for Rugby in the state. #StrongerAsFive

    • Brisneyland Local

      The whole Defensive thing, with Grey really does scare the crap out of me. Probably too late to move hime now having just signed a contract with him, but sure as fuck I hope it has a performance clause in it. As soon as the Wallabies get completely owned in the TRC, bin him and start focussing on scouring the whole for the best defensive coach. Bring them in, and whilst you are at it bin Cheika.
      #wholenewcoachingregimeneeded

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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