Rugby Fan without a team in 2018 - Green and Gold Rugby
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Rugby Fan without a team in 2018

Rugby Fan without a team in 2018

This piece has had several starts over the last couple of months – usually ending in me shouting at the computer, threatening death to social media trolls. Long, angry, rambling rants that go off multiple tangents or just staring blankly into space despondently.

So here we go…

The Western Force was my team, come hell or high water the Force were my team, All Day! Every Day!

As a family we had been there from the start, the first rallies, the first game, the first open days, the first win, taking my young boys to their first rugby games, meeting and making some of my best friends through the Force. (Jan and Lora – I’m looking at you). Touring to the Eastern states, and touring to South Africa to watch the Force play against the Sharks at Kings Park in Durban where I had grown up.

Getting into coaching junior rugby here in Perth and meeting what has become my extended family and having loads of Force players attending and running drills at practices over the years, attending matches with the junior teams and having the kids shouting out for the players that they had met. What it is all about!

As a family we were there at the end – getting ushered out of the Force Field by security 3 hours after the Force v ‘Tahs match when Hodgo had finally finished his lap thanking everyone that was there.

It has been a team that has meant so much me – through every up and down – then gone.

But this isn’t what this article is about. I love the game of Rugby Union, I love being part of my local club (Perth Bayswater). Don’t much care for political, inept and financial or corrupt side of things, more so the rabid tribalism of supporting my team is where you’d find me.

Now, while WA works on rebuilding an elite rugby team – I’m a rugby fan without a Super team.

This is where you come in. The Force players and Coaches have been moved around the country and I’m left wanting every single member of the Force to play beautiful attacking and devastatingly defensive rugby, but battling with being able to support any other team.

Now, yes this opens up the potential for keyboard warriors and social media trolls to do their thing, but figure we are now moving past these types that didn’t get enough attention as children, and can have a decent debate on this.

Sell me your team, don’t go about rubbishing everything else about every other team.

Remember the good times and why you support, cheer, love your team and sell that to me.


  • Julie T

    I admire your optimism Graham to find a way to support another team after the assassination of our beloved Force. But I just can’t do it. The hurt still runs too deep. Super Rugby is dead to me. Supporting Australia and the Wallabies is still a struggle. Last year I travelled to Mendoza, London and Edinburgh to watch the Wallabies when the death of the Force was still very raw. To be honest I was quietly pleased at Twickenham & Murrayfield that we lost. I hope my love for the Wallabies returns, much will depend on goodwill ACTIONS from the ARU ( or whatever rebranded at cost name they want to call themselves). In the meantime I will count down until the local Perth club season kicks off after Easter (Wests rule!) and then NRC later in the year when the Spirit/Force rises up from the ashes and I can once again join my Force family in the Sea of Blue and cheer on our boys. (Of course I will turn up to cheer on our Force girls / women in March as well.)

    • G_Beard

      Support another team over the Force, nope.
      Move on from the Force, nope.

      Fill a gap while the Force rebuilds, restrengthens and reignites, yeah maybe.

      Let’s see to what level other teams fans support their teams.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Why would you support any team that was complacent in cutting the Force? Remember NSW, QLD, ACT and VIC all voted to axe the Force. I will support any team that play AGAINST an Australian Superugby team if I was you.
      I am taking a Superugby vacation this year and will support the Force when they play again in the NRC and IPRC. Whoever play the Wallabies can also count on my support.

  • Tom Houghton

    While It is difficult to support any other team, I will be supporting 2:

    1. The Sharks; I was born in SA and they’re my “Family Team”, So to speak.

    2. The Brumbies: Supported them before the Force came into existence, and I think of all the aussie teams, they have been the most gracious in terms of recognising the contribution WA has made. While some teams (*cough* Rebels) are scared to mention the Force at all for fear of public backlash, the Brumbies have made no secret of the talent they aquired from the Force, were developed through an excellent programme in WA, and players such as Pocock and Godwin have come out and publicly and announced their dismay at the Force being cut. I can at least respect that, so its enough for me to support the Ponies once again.

    • dru

      It’s a VERY good year to get on the Sharks. My African team has been the Bulls, but to be honest I feel less inclined to stay loyal on my second team. If the Bulls don’t show me something next week, the Sharks are in danger of picking up another Oz fan.

      Graham if yo are a Durban boy, the answer is obvious. Get ion the Shorks.

      Back in Perth, I don’t think swapping to Tahs or Reds is going to be emotionally satisfying. Personally I’m sticking to my Reds home team, and has been a labour of love that is hard to justify. Doubt I can manage a half decent argument for a WA fan.

      If Wessels and the de-Forced squad are not enough to overcome your reluctance to rebel, surely the Brumbies are for you mate.

      Me? I’d return home – get on the Sharks. When Aus treats you seriously, revisit then.

  • Nutta

    I’ll take your bait.

    I wrote plenty. I gave you a history lesson on the snobbery of NSW and Qld rugby. I talked up how NSW Country basically wrote off Southern NSW as being too hard to compete against AFL and Mungo. I also then delved into how new-entrants into Sydney or Brisbane club rugby were even isolated and engineered out of the competition all because NO ONE and NOTHING should be allowed to date compete against NSW and Qld rugby.

    Then came the Brumbys. The cast-offs, the dregs, the men marked ‘do not pick’ found a home… and became the most successful Provincial rugby team Oz has ever produced. In the space of 30 odd years we saw the quintessential Oz story with the foreign-born making a home like Clyde Rathbone, Noriega and Pocock. We saw some of the best indigenous talent – Walker and Jim Williams. We saw world-class tight forwards come through like Bill Young, Dan Vickerman, Harrison and Giffin. We have seen scintillating backs like Larkham, Greegan, Roff and Mortlock and deeply inspiring backrowers like Finnegan, Robinson and of course one George Smith.

    Donkeys are your team man. They are the team of the under-dog. They are the team of the re-born. They are the team that cares least for where you come from, where you went to school and the 10,000 other reasons why you shouldn’t be picked. But they are the team that will expect the best of you right here and right now.

    Brumbies – get on it.

    • Gareth

      Good on you Graham, time for some healing.
      Nutta said it well, the Brumbies started as the rejects and became the successful underdog. Go Brumbies

    • G_Beard

      Nutta, this is exactly the type of response.
      Chatting rugby, your team, why etc.
      Nice one.

  • Marie Gain

    Graham I share your passion. I continue to follow Gloucester from a distance. and have decided to ‘hang in there’ and look forward to the newly evolving Force. #RiseUp #SeaofBlue.

    • G_Beard

      Absolutely Marie. I like the way you worded that.

  • Moose

    Thanks for the article Graham. I can’t imagine what it’s been like for Force fans. Force were my ‘other’ team.
    I won’t try to sell my team to you. I love them, but it’s been very hard to like them in recent times, if you get me…

    • G_Beard

      Absolute devestation when it all happened and is still gutting.
      It’s proven how tribal and rabid we all are.

      Look forward the Force getting back on line, and hopefully rugby fans from all over Australia can join in.

      In the meantime I’m trying to follow players and coaches and their build up to the season, but it’s hurting seeing everyone in other colours.

  • Happyman

    Hi Greame

    A great read I cannot fathom how bad it must have been to have been a force fan last year. You must find your other team organically. I must admit the force grew on me over the last few years with the substance of their play of not the style.

    I cannot try and sell you the REDS except as a force fan you may just like the option of a lost cause.

    Just enjoy the game for what it is and your team will find you.

    • G_Beard

      The Western Force is still very much my Team, that hasn’t changed. Just while WA is rebuilding and getting organised to unveil what the IPRC will be all about, I’d like to have an interest in a team within Australia as a 2nd team, but I cannot wait to be cheering loudly and enjoying the Force playing again.

      Would like to see if the rugby folk of Australia could positively “sell” their teams.

      • Happyman

        The Reds are my team and I should loudly for them every game. But is has taken me thirty years to get to the point where they just seem like a lost cause. never mind perhaps this year is different.

        Also as a WA man you should point out how many western australian boys have ended up with school scholarships as a result of Junior development in the West I think it was two in the Qld Schools team and three in the NSW schools team last year.

  • Kevino

    This was my worst nightmare last season, can’t tell you to support the Rebels. I am glad they are still here and I get to go to the rugby this year.

    If I was in your shoes though:

    I think I would support the Sunwolves, my reason for suggesting the Sunwolves is that you still get to watch the Australian conference and have a team, but when they leave after the TV deal finishes and the Force come back you won’t have developed a soft spot for another Australian team that will impair you on game day in the future.

    Hey it means your always supporting against the Eastern states so how can you lose.

  • iTm

    I have a similar dilemma and understand your quandary. I carry a NSW birth certificate, Grew Up in Brizzy spent 11 years in Melbourne and have called Perth home for the last 7. I also have kiwi in-and out-laws.
    My choices are many and varied and any choice could be easily justified,
    After the reprehensible method that the Fore were “exited” I swore not to give the ARU/RA and it’s commercial arm Foxtel and biassed media network a single cent. But Rugby is in my blood and I am starting to go through withdrawal. I MUST HAVE IT!
    My heart is with the Former Force players, most of whom are now at the Rebels. But my head recognizes that only a few of them are true locals and their tour of duty over here was just a detour. Dicky Hardwick and the Haylett Petty Boys are the few that can lay claim to being Locals. Many others owe their career advancements to the opportunities they got over here, in particular under Dave Wessels’ tutelage.
    I kept an eye on the Rebs for the last couple of years and thought that they had great potential but couldn’t quite get it together, felt like they needed a decent coach and some key players to cover injuries. And so it is done, they are my tip for the Australian conference and be the first to knock over a Kiwi side. I will still be looking out for Curtis, Chance, Jono, Isi Naiasani, Alex Newsome and Ritchie, the Other Arnold. But my stripes will be blue and white with a hint of Red. But they are on notice! If they lose their lustre or go broke this year, I am out and on Twiggy’s IRPC bandwagon.

    The Highlanders are my Kiwi team because I like their style of rugby, they don’t seem to “push the margins” or “cheating” as I like to call it, like the other kiwi franchises. Oh yeah, and it annoys my out-laws because they are ‘saders fans.
    Sharkies are my SA team, I can’t really explain why, I think it is because of their mobile forward pack.
    Oh yeah, and anyone playing against the Tah’s. There were way too many wallabies picked from that underwhelming under-performing team of overrated individuals. If they can learn to play together as a team instead of building their game plan around few media darlings striving for as much time on the highlights reel as possible, I will change my tune. There are some good players growing there, but they will wither if they don’t get some fresh air and sunshine.

  • John Gates

    Brumbies. Since day one. Only team for me.

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