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Thread: By the left, Mitchell’s quick march

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    By the left, Mitchell’s quick march

    22nd November 2007, 8:15 WST

    Expect to see World Cup star Drew Mitchell on the left wing rather than at full-back for the Western Force during the next Super 14 season.

    The Force lured Mitchell from the Queensland Reds last year with an offer of greater involvement at fullback but, after plundering seven tries on the wing during the World Cup in France, the speedster is warming to the idea of again wearing the No. 11 jersey in Super 14.

    This would clear the way for Cameron Shepherd to return in 2008 to fullback, where his international aspirations lie.

    Mitchell said his World Cup experience of finishing second-leading try scorer behind international player of the year Bryan Habana — who played two more games in France — had led him to reconsider his future.

    “When you get the ball in space on the wing it becomes very enjoyable,” he said. “If your team’s going backwards and you don’t see the ball then being out on the wing’s not much fun.

    “Given the type of game the Force play I’ve come to enjoy the wing.

    “I’m happy to play wherever they want me.”

    Coach John Mitchell indicated he was prepared to change his thinking from last season and use the two backs in the positions in which they had represented the Wallabies.

    “New season, new thinking,” he said. “The team will play a different game to last season and I’ll use Drew and Shep where I think we’ll gain a competitive advantage.

    “They’ll be required to prepare for both roles and I’ll make the judgment come the competition.”

    The coach hinted he wanted to make the most of Mitchell’s acceleration and exceptional finishing ability out wide.

    “Wingers are like soccer strikers,” he said. “When they’re on a streak you want to give them the best chances. You’ve got to look after them when they’re hot.”

    The versatility at the back will be mirrored up front, with Pek Cowan and Gareth Hardy switching between prop and hooker at early training sessions.

    “We aren’t going to have a third specialist hooker so Pek and Hardy are being trained to fill in if we need them,” Mitchell said.

    Tai McIsaac and Luke Holmes are the Force’s two recognised hookers following the enforced retirement earlier this year of Brendan Cannon.

    New Zealand NPC scrum-half Adam Clarke arrives from Invercargill today to bid for a Super 14 contract with the Force. Southlander Clarke, who is eligible to play for Australia because of his grandfather’s citizenship, will bid to get the role of back-up to Matt Henjak.

    DAVE HUGHES

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post

    The versatility at the back will be mirrored up front, with Pek Cowan and Gareth Hardy switching between prop and hooker at early training sessions.

    “We aren’t going to have a third specialist hooker so Pek and Hardy are being trained to fill in if we need them,” Mitchell said.

    Tai McIsaac and Luke Holmes are the Force’s two recognised hookers following the enforced retirement earlier this year of Brendan Cannon.
    A few weeks ago at Rockwall with the forward pack it was rumoured that some of the props would be filling the reserve-reserve Hooker role. I asked the question of AJ, but should have been to Boof and Pek by the looks of this.

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Can this be moved to Drew Mitchell's spot - it's a seriously good article - and great to see him more at ease with an 11 or 14 shirt - his performance in the world cup must mean that people like Lote now have some serious competition.

    PS AJ fans - what happened - can't AJ throw a ball !

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    I've always felt Drew is a more natural winger than at fullback. He just needed to be allowed to work that out himself.

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thequeerone View Post
    AJ fans - what happened - can't AJ throw a ball !
    AJ doesn't believe in throwing balls, he likes to carry them.

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    As I said before I'm slowly getting my wishes, but even I thought Boof as a hooker was a pipe dream.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower View Post
    AJ doesn't believe in throwing balls, he likes to carry them.
    Its funny I saw an attempted try by AJ on youtube that says otherwise......

    I doubt we'll need it, but its good to have a few options for a back-back-up hooker. I'm feeling a good 20% more confident in the Force this year after this report.

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    i think our backline line up will be the best out of all australian teams for sure

    henjak,
    Gits,
    Mitchell,
    Staniforth,
    Cross,
    Toss up,
    Sheps

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Similar thoughts - put Junior back in there - and you may well have a Wallaby backline - in the meantime I be looking to get Turner and Beale in the mix as well - if I was the Aussie Coach - as there isn't one at the moment might just assume the title

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    I was only talking about the force line but know you mention could be potnetial wallabies
    jnr wont be though till 2009 poor fella

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    and Cross did play some wing in the ARC, he might just snap up that vacant wing in order for some of the younger backs to step into the centre role.

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    C'mon the

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    Champion prop53's Avatar
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    Cross needs more consistant in his game at the moment or he will turn into a another as been league player.
    oh nearly forgot one for you to GIGST
    props rule

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    I can see Cummins move in closer to the action as soon as he has a season or two under his belt to outside centre. He would work well with a hard running 12 inside him which is what Mitch seems to prefer.

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    as long as their both on the field in defence they will be great at the kicking games with the south africans because they have both played fullback. the backline looks like it will work well this season.

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