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travelling_gerry
22-06-09, 05:19
Wayne Smith | June 22, 2009

Article from: The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/)

JAMES O'Connor confirmed yesterday he would be staying put at the Western Force, dismissing an 11th-hour Queensland bid for his services as coming "too late".

But whether he also will be staying put in the Wallabies fullback position is anything but certain.

The Test sensation said he had not actually re-signed with the Force, but after months of wrestling with his future admitted Perth is where his head is "at".

"Mentally I'm there, pretty much," O'Connor, 18, said. "At the moment I'm happy with where I'm going. Over at the Force it's nice and solid. They've guided me pretty well."

Outwardly, things appear anything but nice and solid at the Reds, although head coach Phil Mooney clearly is hoping a change of forwards coach and of team manager will help arrest Queensland's fading fortunes.

O'Connor, born and raised on the Gold Coast where his family still lives, was as surprised as everyone else that his home state did not initially approach him with a contract offer. "I don't know too much. At the Reds they've got a good ball-playing structure with Berrick Barnes and Quade Cooper so I was always in two minds," he said.

"I heard last week about their interest. It was definitely a good option, to think about going home. I think their structural changes maybe came a bit too late."

The only lingering uncertainty about O'Connor involves his negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union, which is understood to be offering him only a modest top-up on his standard Super 14 contract. The mere fact an 18-year-old is going through a re-contracting process after three Tests highlights just how precocious a talent he is. Just for the record, he wants it known he has started to shave. "Just".

But for all the youthful excitement he brings to the game generally and to the Wallabies in particular, there are no guarantees he will hold his Test fullback position tomorrow when Robbie Deans announces his full-strength side to meet France in Sydney on Saturday.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, who played brilliantly at fullback against the Barbarians before being relieved in the 15 jersey by O'Connor for both Italy Tests, reapplied the pressure with a man-of-the-match performance off the bench against the Azzurri in Melbourne on Saturday night. Deans said he had been impressed by the maturity Ashley-Cooper showed when tossed initially on to the left wing as a blood-bin substitute for Peter Hynes and then at fullback, taking over from O'Connor in the 70th minute.

"He came on and he took the initiative," Deans said. "He didn't just feed off the work of others. He really stepped up and led and that's great."

The Wallabies coach ruefully acknowledges that the call on who would play as fullback was one of "many tough decisions" he would have to make this week, but he was quick to point out that Ashley-Cooper was by no means locked into just the one starting position. "Anyone who can thrive in a number of positions has a much better chance of starting," Deans said.

O'Connor and Ashley-Cooper might be jousting for the one Test spot, but each has a healthy respect for the other. "He had a cracker of a (starting) debut last week and I'm really proud of him," Ashley-Cooper said of his young rival. "It's really healthy for the team when kids like him come in and put pressure on players like me. It creates that competition and allows us to push ourselves even further. It's going to be very important for us in the long-term." O'Connor, likewise, was in awe of Ashley-Cooper's performance off the bench in Melbourne. "Coopey played really well last night. When he came on he just split them open," he said.

Although team officials had played down the significance of O'Connor missing training last week, the teenager yesterday revealed just how heavy the fitness cloud hanging over him before the match had been. "It wasn't the swine flu but I had bad stomach cramps," he said. "I don't know what to put it down to but I was bed-ridden for a couple of days. I felt OK out there. I'm not going to make any excuses."

He has little need for them, anyhow. Aside from dropping the first kick that came his way, the result of having too much time to think about what he would do next, and of occasionally being bumped out of the way in the scramble to haul in Craig Gower's bombs, O'Connor turned in another excellent game.

Had the ball bounced his way instead of into the arms of Tatafu Polota-Nau, he could have scored the Wallabies' first try and it was his thoughtfully delayed inside ball that sent Ryan Cross over for the team's second.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25667752-5015651,00.html

robyn <3
22-06-09, 07:35
*breathes out very very deeply*

THANKYOU James!! :thumbsup: I knew you would do the smart thing!!

tic
22-06-09, 07:43
Quote-

O'Connor, born and raised on the Gold Coast where his family still lives, was as surprised as everyone else that his home state did not initially approach him with a contract offer. "I don't know too much. At the Reds they've got a good ball-playing structure with Berrick Barnes and Quade Cooper so I was always in two minds," he said

Wow - Qld may have really dropped the ball on this one - everyone just assumed it was between the Force and the Brumbies. I wonder if this is part of the reason why the Reds have just sacked their recruitment officer.

I still have a sneaky suspicion that Rabbit might return to Rugby League in the years ahead. He played RL on the Gold Coast until he moved to Nudgee College in Brisbane for his last 2 years of school. It would be interesting to know if any NRL clubs have been courting him.

lara93
22-06-09, 07:44
YAY!!!
good choice james:)wise stay:D

The EnForcer
22-06-09, 08:18
Wayne Smith | June 22, 2009

Article from: The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/)

O'Connor, 18, said. "At the moment I'm happy with where I'm going. Over at the Force it's nice and solid. They've guided me pretty well."

Nice to hear some positive feedback on our organisation.

Good onya JOC, now let's get on with it!

Swee_82
22-06-09, 08:37
The ghosts of Digby still loom... look forward to James putting pen to paper soon.

force addict
22-06-09, 09:45
well done James! glad to have you in our squad

Burgs
22-06-09, 10:03
As with Swee, but the signs are good.



....................................

James O'Connor.

jono
22-06-09, 17:07
SOMEONE GIVE THE LAD A DOTTED LINE! GET HIM LOCKED IN ASAP!

GIGS20
22-06-09, 17:48
SOMEONE GIVE THE LAD A DOTTED LINE! GET HIM LOCKED IN ASAP!
Sounds like ARU are the problem here, they seem to be dragging their feet a bit coughing up the dough.

I guess Rabbit's playing it smart, every game he plays, he confirms his value, it was pretty quiet for him on Saturday and he still had a ripper!

I'm not going to celebrate too hard until there's an actual confirmed contract, but things look as good as they ever will before the ARU top-up is sorted out.

Fullback
22-06-09, 17:56
Sounds like ARU are the problem here, they seem to be dragging their feet a bit coughing up the dough.

Sounds like it. Hurry up ARU, he is the future of rugby in Australia.

Good on ya James.

:cheers:

mudskipper
22-06-09, 18:07
Surely if he said he'll sign, he's staying at the Force...

I wish him all the best; it won't be easy next season… However it maybe the making of kid… He has set himself a huge challenge in 2010… And with all that cash comes expectations form those within the Force and the fans outside...

James O'Connor staying will make many Force fans very happy which is great after loosing so many this year... I hope they are as kind to him when the going gets tough next season...

However I don't he made any further claims for a great ARU pay day after last weekends match...

Flamethrower
22-06-09, 18:20
Give him the standard ARU $$$ and half of Lote's.

pieter blackie
22-06-09, 18:26
Like I said in another thread
JOC will be part of the Force but he will be playing 15 on Deans instruction Maybe later next year or even in 2011 will he be moved to 10 but only if it fits into Deans plans for the world cup But I see him Playing 15 even into the world cup with Gits on 10

He will not get the game time with the Brumbies and will always be second fiddle to Gits on 10 and Ashley-Cooper on 15

Burgs
22-06-09, 18:33
I can see where you are coming from there Pieter but I have a strange feeling Mitch wouldn't be "told" by Robbie to do much at all and, if so, would have been under the same instruction this season as Robbie has made it very clear since JO'Cs selection for the Spring Tour that he wanted him at #15, yet for us he primarily played at #12.

GIGS20
22-06-09, 19:07
Give him the standard ARU $$$ and half of Lote's.Half of Lote's money, what the hell could he do to earn that sort of spendoola...........hang on, Lote's money right?..........never mind, I see your point!

tragic
22-06-09, 20:27
It's good news! But I'll be happier when the ink is dry :)

Darren
22-06-09, 20:37
I don't mind wet ink... :D

Ecky
22-06-09, 20:51
Like I said in another thread

He will not get the game time with the Brumbies and will always be second fiddle to Gits on 10 and Ashley-Cooper on 15

I can see where you are coming from there Pieter but I have a strange feeling Mitch wouldn't be "told" by Robbie to do much at all and, if so, would have been under the same instruction this season as Robbie has made it very clear since JO'Cs selection for the Spring Tour that he wanted him at #15, yet for us he primarily played at #12.
As I recall the same thing happened with Giteau when he got here, didn't it?

normie
23-06-09, 01:30
The ghosts of Digby still loom... look forward to James putting pen to paper soon.

Watch Rabbit's boots- if he starts wearing odd coloured boots it's a sign of the 'ghost of Digby'!

robyn <3
23-06-09, 07:37
Guys, remember that he has a 1 year + 1 extension - does he need to sign anything?

Flamethrower
23-06-09, 08:16
I don't mind wet ink... :D

You'd just use your hairdryer to .............Ohhh Carry on :redface:

tic
23-06-09, 08:21
Guys, remember that he has a 1 year + 1 extension - does he need to sign anything?

Good point. Maybe he will exercise the option and see how things go with Pretorius - keeping all options open.

BaldCunus
23-06-09, 09:00
come on ARU pull your finger out give him the cash he deserves!!!

jargan83
23-06-09, 09:07
I just heard on the radio that JO'C "is close to staying in the west for another couple of years"

I don;t know if the newsreader was quoting any sauces, they were probably getting their info if TWF :rofl:
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AndyS
23-06-09, 11:30
Guys, remember that he has a 1 year + 1 extension - does he need to sign anything?

Maybe not, but that would be on the same money then...?

James
23-06-09, 12:09
Most reports seems to be saying 2 years. I think once 2010 is up he will be ready to be a regular starting S14 player who won't have to rely on anyone else and won't need the 'big brother' type.

GIGS20
23-06-09, 18:08
and ready to cash in on the great money that will be available with the expansion team soaking up talent!

laura
03-07-09, 17:47
JO'C was on 10 news. They cleverly edited what he was saying to coincide with their announcement that he was staying. He was talking about his future with the Force next year and saying that he's just finalising stuff and he's really excited about next season. He said other players were leaving/left but he's happy and there's a good group of boys here.

They didn't actually quote him saying 'I am staying at the Force' but what he said was pretty convincing that he is. Still not an official announcement though...

Fullback
04-07-09, 13:22
When he excepted his award last night, he thanked "thoughs players that are leaving".

Another good sign that he is staying. :)

robyn <3
04-07-09, 16:19
James is a clever young man :)

Hence he will stay

blueandblack
04-07-09, 20:10
When he excepted his award last night, he thanked "thoughs players that are leaving".

Another good sign that he is staying. :)

You were on TLH's table helping him with the wine, weren't you? :D

"accepted", "those". :iconrofl:

brokendown gunfighter
04-07-09, 20:41
B&B you are probably in the same state this evening after the win over Spewbie?

James
04-07-09, 20:43
B&B you are probably in the same state this evening after the win over Spewbie?

Western Australia?

brokendown gunfighter
04-07-09, 20:50
Western Australia?


the state of excitement:D

blueandblack
04-07-09, 22:13
B&B you are probably in the same state this evening after the win over Spewbie?

abso-bloody-lutely. twice this year (both with umpires blatantly supporting spewbi, too)


:offtopic:

Onya JOC

Fullback
05-07-09, 12:16
You were on TLH's table helping him with the wine, weren't you? :D

"accepted", "those". :iconrofl:

omg that's horable...uplods diktionery to brein.

It was a test. :P

Burgs
05-07-09, 13:10
abso-bloody-lutely. twice this year (both with umpires blatantly supporting spewbi, too)


:offtopic:

Onya JOC

Abso-bloody-lutely. Twice this year (both with umpires blatantly supporting Spewbi, too).


:offtopic:

Onya JO'C.

:P