Force is a farce

The Western Force have named their inaugural side to play the Brumbies in their Super 14 debut, and the only ones quaking are coach John Mitchell and his support staff.

In fact, two very distinct cheers could be heard at the completion of his team announcement earlier today. The first came from Brumbies coach Gandalf Fisher, convinced one of his spells had actually worked and an opening win for his side is now guaranteed. The second from Sharks supremo Dick Muir, who no longer coaches the weakest side in the competition.

Simply put, the Force are a Farce. This is no Brumbies’ style gathering of good players unlucky not to be afforded opportunities elsewhere, moulded by a common vision and player power.

There is talent, at halfback especially where Matt Henjak can sense the Wallaby No 9 jumper clinging to his back a little more tightly each day, and flyhalf where stand-out U19 Wallaby Scott Daruda is one of the most exciting prospects on the Australian scene.

Like two diamonds sparkling in about two tonnes of dirt, however, any excitement generated by their inclusion is buried in the collection of plodders surrounding them. If ever there was a rugby example of what happens when you stretch resources beyond their means, this is it.

The Brumbies, when conceptualised and then launched in 1996, were also predicted to fail. The difference, however, was that their players had not been afforded opportunities and their potential was as yet unknown.

With the notable exception of Henjak and Daruda, the same cannot be said of the Force. Too many players have experienced Super 12 and been found wanting.

Examples such as journeyman Scott Staniforth, Junior Pelesasa – dangerous on attack but a revolving door on D, Lachlan Mackay – shifted out of position, and David Fitter – the poor man’s Donut Dunning, are far too plentiful.

There is quality in Scott Fava, an outstanding No 8, and competence in Nathan Sharpe and Brendan Cannon, but far too much rests on players known for their dependability and consistency rather than shooting lights out.

South African expats in Perth often speak of their homesickness, how much they miss their country of origin…’The Republic.’ In naming his side, Mitchell provided the certainty that they will have quick and prolonged relief throughout the Super 14.

They, too, can spend Friday nights and Saturday afternoons lamenting a side taking a routine pummelling, with the brutal reality that their team is just not good enough struggling to hide behind glitzy marketing campaigns and gimmicky ploys.


15 James Higendorf
14 Scott Staniforth
13 Junior Pelesasa
12 Lachlan Mackay
11 Digby Loane
10 Scott Daruda
9 Matt Henjak
8 Scott Fava
7 Matt Hodgson
6 Luke Doherty
5 Nathan Sharpe (c)
4 John Welborn
3 David Fitter
2 Brendan Cannon
1 Gareth Hardy


16 Tai Mclsaac
17 David Te Moana
18 David Pusey
19 Richard Brown
20 Chris O’Young
21 Josh Graham
22 Cameron Shepherd