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Thread: Force Players Bolster WA Rugby

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Force Players Bolster WA Rugby

    With the community rugby premier grade finals starting on the weekend, I thought it'd be timely to catch up with Community Rugby Manager and Western Force Scrum Coach, Matt Tink, and ask him a few questions on the season, and in particular to clarify the competition rules in regards to professionals (Western Force players) playing local comp rugby this late in the season and into the finals.



    Thanks for taking the time out to talk with me today, Matt - obviously a busy time of year for you as we head into the finals, how has the season gone from where you're sitting?

    I think it has been a great season all round and we’re delighted to have seen an increase in registered players across the Perth senior competitions. It has been a really tight Premier Grade competition in 2010 with all teams showing they’re capable of getting a result against any opposition. It was particularly pleasing to see three sides still able to win the minor premiership heading into the final round which made for an enthralling finish to the regular season. The cream has risen to the top and all four of our Premier sides taking part in the finals have a shot at winning the grand final, it’ll be a great series. I also believe there has been a genuine improvement in the standard of a number of second grade teams and this is very pleasing as well.

    Premier grade saw some jostling for position at the pointy end of the season with Neddies taking out the minor premiership and Cott, Soaks and Paly placing in the top 4. There was a bit of talk last year when Richard Brown played for Cottesloe in the finals which they ultimately won.

    This has been compounded this year with Mark Bartholomeusz joining Cottesloe late in the season and Chris O'Young and the Staniforth boys turning out for Associates.

    What are the regulations as it pertains to these professional players joining amateur clubs this late in the season?

    Under the Standard Player Contracts any professional player can choose which club they wish to play for, anywhere in Australia. You probably saw last weekend when Wallabies Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell nominated their club as Balmain who are a 3rd division Sydney suburban rugby team and played in that match.

    Under the RugbyWA Competition Rules contracted players have to play a minimum of three games for their club to be eligible for finals. Special dispensation can be sought for players who would have played those matches in club rugby had it not been for an injury or representing the Emirates Western Force or the Wallabies.

    In terms of the Emirates Western Force players you mentioned, they’ll all meet the criteria to play finals and only started late in the season due to injury following the Super 14 season.

    Mark Bartholomeusz had to rest and recover from a calf injury he nursed throughout the Super14 season, however Barty has played in Rounds 15, 16, 17 and 18. Scott Staniforth was injured against the Lions (rd12) and returned home early from South Africa missing the last two Super rugby games of the season. His injury needed careful management and once cleared by medical staff he returned to action with positive results – that’s good news for Scott, for the Force and the rugby supporters in WA who are looking forward to seeing him scoring tries again in the 2011 Super Rugby season. Scott has played in Rounds 14, 15, 16 and 18. Many people seem to have a problem with Chris O’Young only playing in the last 3 rounds of the competition.

    Chris missed the final two rounds of the Super 14 with a shoulder injury which took him a number of weeks to recover from. He also had an operation on his nose to correct some breathing difficulties and he only returned to playing once his surgeon gave him the all clear. In two out of the three rounds he played in, he has come off the bench to replace two separate half backs who both sustained injury.

    In chatting with him he is very conscious of not ousting a player who has been there all season. Chris in fact had this done to him by Travis Hall for two separate finals campaigns when playing in Sydney for Eastwood. He knows how bad it feels, but he also knows this year may be the last opportunity to play with his long time mate, Scott Staniforth, so once his body was right he returned.


    Who makes the decisions on which clubs a player plays for?

    As I mentioned in the last answer the players choose which club they wish to play for. There are no directives in terms of which club they should or shouldn’t play for.


    So there's nothing to stop say Kalamunda or Palmyra trying to lure Force players into their ranks?

    Absolutely not, nor any other club! All Premier Grade clubs have equal opportunity of adding Emirates Western Force players to their squads. There always seems to be a small minority who are vocal in their opposition of professional players taking part in our local competition.

    From our perspective, and the overwhelming response I get from coaches and players, is that having these top line players taking part in the WA competition is a positive thing. Players and coaches are happy to play against, and with, professional players to test their abilities and to learn.


    Who are you tipping to take out the final this year?

    You could really throw a blanket across all four Premier clubs in the finals. The round 18 match between Palmyra and Cottesloe has set the scene for what will be an enthralling finals campaign. That match was played with finals intensity and was well supported by an enthusiastic crowd.

    The focus of the finals should be the quality of the rugby and not which club has which player, it’s anyone’s to win and we’re all looking forward to a tough contest.

    There is always plenty of emotion around club rugby, and emotion, passion and loyalty is what I love and admire about the people who run and support our clubs. What becomes frustrating is when people who are misinformed decide to talk our game down and question the decisions without listening to why. I always prefer to deal with facts rather than emotion. I constantly tell the Community Rugby staff at RugbyWA that Rugby is about relationships.

    I am happy to listen to anyone’s concerns as long as they are prepared to listen to facts. People in club land have some excellent ideas and we are always happy to listen. I attend club rugby every weekend, both seniors and juniors, and I encourage anyone involved with a club to come up and have a chat and ask questions or give suggestions to me or any of our staff.

    Ultimately, we all love the game!


    That we do, that we do.

    Many thanks to Matt for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with me, it is very much appreciated.

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    Veteran pieter blackie's Avatar
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    Briliant stuff Coach

    This should happen more often. Thanks for the time Matt

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    Was this the same phone call when he rang to ask you to can the Ugly Cottesloe thread?

    I'm feeling a bit dizzy at the moment from all the spin.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    No one has asked me to can, edit or to do anything else with that thread, or any other.

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    Player KalaFan's Avatar
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    What a load of shit it is that the players get to choose their clubs. Read between the lines, rich clubs (who are generally always good eg Soaks) get to splash a bit of pocket money towards the force players to lure them to there club. Definately something unfair here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    No one has asked me to can, edit or to do anything else with that thread, or any other.
    I'm pretty sure I asked you to edit the politics thread to include HOT LIVE pictures of the Australian Sex Party. Or did that message get lost in the vmail?

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    Senior Player Action Hardcore's Avatar
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    Hell some of the richer clubs be paying me royalties just to appear at the games, shit aint fair no girls from baysie and wanneroo get to admire my lats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KalaFan View Post
    What a load of shit it is that the players get to choose their clubs. Read between the lines, rich clubs (who are generally always good eg Soaks) get to splash a bit of pocket money towards the force players to lure them to there club. Definately something unfair here.
    You'd probably find for most of them they are just playing for clubs close to home. Why would Scott Staniforth travel all the way over to Kalamunda if he lives 2 minutes away from both Cottesloe and Associates?

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    Champion
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    Is ChrisO still considered to be a professional player? I thought he had retired

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    Apprentice Homer J's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but aren't two of the finals teams devoid of S12/14/15 players?

    Good on em for having a crack and raising their standards instead of whinging about others.

    All year there is complaints about how S14 plyers have abandoned WA rugby but when they play they cop nothing but conspiracy drivel.

    You want them here to help improve standards but only if they play for your team!!!
    COY is playing with his mate Spanner who is playing with his brother. But all you see is 'THE WARU DID IT TOLD KEEP THE OTHER CLUBS DOWN CONSPIRACY CONSPIRACY'.

    Make your club attractive to top quality players, don't complain about what other have achieved.

    Sydney Uni was about to get dumped from the Shute Shield but they took the initiative, didn't blame others, and fixed their own probelms and are now the dominant club in Australian club rugby for the last decade.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerthGirl View Post
    Is ChrisO still considered to be a professional player? I thought he had retired
    He is contracted till the end of the year so ...strictly speaking he is not yet retired but he has played his last pro game unless the Force do some off-season playing which im unaware of.

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    Veteran pieter blackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KalaFan View Post
    What a load of shit it is that the players get to choose their clubs. Read between the lines, rich clubs (who are generally always good eg Soaks) get to splash a bit of pocket money towards the force players to lure them to there club. Definately something unfair here.
    Welcome to the real life mate.
    Money in club rugby is the only way ahead. We need proper club sponsorships and that will evolve into a much higher standard of player quality and descent venues.

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    Player rick boyd's Avatar
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    And not least, one or two super 14 players aren't often going to make the difference between winning or losing. The teams in the finals got there without super 14 players and if they keep on winning, it's probably because they're a good team and not because they have a couple of stars.

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  14. #14
    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    If Fulvio's assertions from last week and last year's final are correct - that is true. However, playing along a couple pro players may give the rest of the team the confidence boost it needs to get over the line.

    A possible corollary to this is that the team without the pros gets the boost one often gets from 'underdog' status.

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