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Thread: Tension still lingers in west two years on from Force axing

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    Tension still lingers in west two years on from Force axing

    The below article is so entirely off the mark about just how much Western Australians detest and loathe Rugby Australia for not addressing the Force plight and promising to not forget WA when they clearly have and done absolutely nothing for the game here. You may as well play community rugby in South Australia because they get more from Rugby Australia than the Force do who just so happen to be an ex super rugby franchise.

    The sold out tickets are mainly because kiwi fans have lapped them up in droves. No other rugby game will attract a crowd as big as an All Black blockbuster no matter where you live in the world. If an All Black game can attract a 60k crowd in the USA, notably Chicago then ofcourse you can expect a similar crowd in Perth. The fact no one bothers with the Argentinian and South African games is more of a reflection on the state of the Wallabies than this bledisloe cup clash.

    The East coast is still deluded. The tide will be a sea of black and blue and the RA administrators will be red in the face, again..

    Tension still lingers in west two years on from Force axing


    Tension still lingers in west two years on from Force axing


    Tom Decent
    By Tom Decent
    August 5, 2019 — 4.32pm


    The sight of Western Force players drinking their sorrows away at an average Perth nightclub and ending the evening with greasy kebabs summed up just how bad a day they had had almost two years ago.

    In September 2017 when the when the Wallabies were in Perth, it’s safe to say timing was far from perfect.

    An emotional Matt Hodgson struggles to hold back his tears after RugbyWA's appeal against the Force's axing was dismissed.



    Smack bang in the middle of a Test week leading into a match against the Springboks, RugbyWA lost its appeal in the NSW Supreme Court to have the Western Force remain in Super Rugby.

    The Australian Rugby Union – now known as Rugby Australia – had all but been given the green light to cut the Force from Super Rugby.

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    Captain Matt Hodgson, a veteran of the club, held back tears that day, while teammates and Wallabies representatives Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty were informed of the news before training on the Tuesday.

    “Frustrated, angry, annoyed and disappointed,” Hodgson said at the time. “You see what it means to people.”



    With an important Test coming up, it sparked widespread anger in Perth, whose rugby fraternity could not comprehend the ARU’s decision to punt their beloved boys in blue.

    Players banded together and many shared plenty of lagers late into the following morning – and how could you blame them?

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    Some fans decided to boycott the Test, which the Wallabies drew 23-23, while many opted to wear their Force attire in a show of solidarity.

    Almost two years on and the Wallabies are back in Perth for the first time since that week, this time with an assignment against the All Blacks before them.



    There is still palpable animosity in the west over the handling of the Force’s axing but the fact tickets for the Bledisloe Cup opener at the newly built Optus Stadium have sold out shows rugby still has a heartbeat, even if not all is rosy.

    According to RugbyWA's 2018 annual report, released in June, participation rates had reduced by 20 per cent in senior and eight per cent in junior leagues. The organisation also said it was trying to negotiate a $1 million debt bailout from the state government.

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    Rugby figures in the west feel the jury is still out on whether RA has done enough to support rugby in the state over the past two years.

    Hodgson said West Australians had not forgotten how the messy saga played out.

    “Rugby is strong in Western Australia but there will always be that feeling of sadness about what has happened,” Hodgson told the Herald. “It’s a combination of things. It’s difficult to put into words. To have something taken away from you is pretty difficult, especially when we were doing some positive things here. Everyone is excited though to be part of a sell-out crowd on Saturday and hopefully that results in a win for the Wallabies.

    “Players always wanted a pathway and for a while there was a bit of an unknown of playing football in Perth wondering what is next. Now with the establishment of Rapid Rugby we’re actually showing a pathway.”

    Coleman, along with Haylett-Petty, packed his bags and signed for the Melbourne Rebels in the 2018 Super Rugby season. Most players from the Force side two years ago have found other clubs.

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    “It is something that is always going to be there and it was a tough day for everyone in Western Australia but you have to move forward,” Coleman said. “If you are lingering too much in the past it can weigh you down a little bit. The Force are still here in a different aspect, just not in Super Rugby.”

    The Force have an exhibition match against Malaysia Valke on Friday evening in Perth as an extra fixture that will wrap up Rapid Rugby's showcase series.

    Hundreds of kids turned out for a fan day on Sunday at University of Western Australia Park to mingle with some of their Wallabies heroes.

    “The turnout was unreal,” Coleman said. “It was good to see some of my family here and some familiar faces. The Force fans always come out and see us.

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    I'd really, really like to go, but I think I'll be washing my hair that evening.

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    Veteran Ecky's Avatar
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    I wasn't going but have been offered freebies.
    Members, but GA to , followed by some corporate area for
    I can't waste them, hey.

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    I'm going, Birthday present from number 1 son.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
    I wasn't going but have been offered freebies.
    followed by some corporate area for
    Yes me too, I flatly refused to pay for a ticket, but being given a corporate box ticket, I think I have to go on principle. Force jumper of course

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    80 Minutes, 15 Positions, No Protection, Wanna Ruck?

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    I was offered freebies but they didn't eventuate.

    Maybe I'll turn up Optus Stadium and burn a Wallabies jersey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Yes me too, I flatly refused to pay for a ticket, but being given a corporate box ticket, I think I have to go on principle. Force jumper of course
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to turn out to watch the Worlds best team and possibly one of the best sides in the history of the game. People all over the world have done the same, and it has nothing to do with wanting to watch their local or national side in action. Feel proud you get to be a part of history and forget about the Wallabies for the night, if history is anything to go by only about 12,000 fans will be Wallaby supporters as going by previous Wallaby games in Perth that is all that appears to be left in this state.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    NZRU advocated for the Removal of the Force so remember that as you’re sitting in your seat having paid money to the organisation that knifed your side from Super Rugby.

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    They only wanted an Australian team gone when the RA was pushing this line due to financial difficulties they made up with their bogus spreadsheet. The NZRU did not care if Aus kept their team, and when they decided they were going to get rid of one they also couldnt have cared less what team it was. Trying to blame the NZRU is laughable, time to wear that tin foil hat!

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    Veteran chibi's Avatar
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    NZRU have always preferred Melbourne to Perth, going all the way back to 2002 and 2005

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Champion andrewM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fulvio sammut View Post
    I'd really, really like to go, but I think I'll be washing my hair that evening.
    Do you still have that lock of hair from your first haircut Fulvio?

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    Here is another hillarious article where the RA honestly believe that they are helping rugby in the west. Raelene is using her pawn media in the East to push her chosen narrative that they are helping us here and that they actually truely "sympathise" with our cause. If she is so deluded that she thinks a sell out crowd is anything to do with Rugby fans forgiving RA for their sins then she quite frankly needs a new job. She is simply not qualified to hold her position as she seems unable to actually grasp public sentiment towards her and her organisation. The rugby fans turning out are simply Rugby fans, they are not Wallaby fans, and the crowd will be massively skewed towards All Black fans and neutral fans and even Force fans and if history is anything to go by then probably another 10k Australian Wallaby fans.

    Lets see who is laughing come Saturday Raelene, lets see

    Castle sympathises with Force fans, expects Wallabies to lift against All Blacks

    Tom Decent
    By Tom Decent
    August 7, 2019 — 5.09pm

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    Chief executive Raelene Castle says Rugby Australia still sympathises with fans in the west over the axing of the Western Force two years ago but is buoyed by their support ahead of a sold-out Bledisloe Cup opener the Kiwi-raised rugby boss wants the Wallabies to "really step up" in.

    It is almost two years since Rugby Australia made the tough call to punt the Force after the 2017 season and ultimately reduce Australia’s Super Rugby footprint from five teams to four.


    Many fans in the west have since held grudges against rugby’s administration for what they believed was a gross injustice.

    Saturday’s Test against the All Blacks marks the first time the Wallabies have played in Perth since they faced South Africa almost two years ago on the weekend after Rugby WA lost its appeal in the NSW Supreme Court to have the Force reinstated.

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    Castle, who only came on as RA boss in 2018, put a positive spin on the welcome she and others had received in the west.

    "No one more than Rugby Australia understands how hurt the rugby community is about losing the Western Force, so we understand that and how difficult it’s been but we’re doing all that we can to engage with rugby in this part of Australia. It’s important to us," Castle said. "We know they love their sport and they’ve proven that by the number of tickets they have bought and also recognising that it’s an important pathway.


    "What I hope we’re proving to the rugby community is even without the Western Force there is a real pathway in place so players can progress into national teams."

    Castle said a crowd of up to 66,000 could cram into Optus Stadium for the first Test against the All Blacks in Perth, which could be a long-term stadium record given that RA has set up extra seats in the venue.

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    Tickets were sold out for the fixture in the space of six days and Castle is hopeful fans will make their way down early to watch the Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns.

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    Meanwhile, Castle said RA had no concerns with the surface at Optus Stadium after hiring an independent assessor to check out the field after a concerns were raised by AFL clubs West Coast and Fremantle about the hardness of the ground.

    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will name his team on Thursday morning to face New Zealand in a match that will give an excellent gauge as whether Australia are tracking along nicely before the World Cup or well behind the pack. As indicated earlier in the week, back-rower David Pocock is not expected to play.

    "I’d much prefer to see him off the bench next in Auckland," former Wallaby Tim Horan told Macquarie Sports Radio. "You don’t want him to go in there unprepared in an All Blacks Test and then injure himself agains before the Rugby World Cup."

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    It is just over six weeks to go before the World Cup and Castle said the upcoming period would be fascinating heading into the code’s showpiece tournament.

    Australia have won and lost a match to begin their Rugby Championship campaign. They were outclassed by 35-17 by South Africa in Johannesburg before getting over the line 16-10 against Argentina in Brisbane.


    It comes after the Wallabies lost nine of their 13 fixtures in 2018 to record their worst season on record since 1958.

    "This is an opportunity for the Wallabies to really step up," Castle said. "[It is about] making sure you’ve built your squad and given them time on the park in the Rugby Championship build-up to pick the best team to go to the World Cup.

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    "At the same time, the Rugby Championship is an important competition and world rankings are important for us and our reputation as a Wallabies team. Winning Test matches is important.


    "When you bring all those things together it makes for interesting outcomes because probably all of the teams maybe haven’t really performed [to the best of their ability yet]."

    Asked how new director of rugby Scott Johnson was settling into new role after beginning in March this year, Castle said he had already made a "huge impact".

    "He’s given support in the right areas," Castle said. "I think the addition of the work he’s done through the Super Rugby teams [by] integrating their connections and relationships into the Wallabies unit and then the support he has given Michael Cheika and the support staff has been great.

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    "Then the role he’s played with selection panel coming into a World Cup has been a really important part of that mix to make sure Cheik can bring his views to the table and he can have someone to robustly debate the rationale as to who he is selecting. We’re about six months in and he’s made a huge impact.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    The decision to punt the Force rather than the Rebels was down to the will and actions of a few key individuals at the ARU and VRU. Some have since left the scene; others are still around and no doubt still pulling strings.

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    Proudly Western Australian; Proudly supporting Western Australian rugby

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    Champion SPaRTAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chibi View Post
    NZRU have always preferred Melbourne to Perth, going all the way back to 2002 and 2005
    I seem to recall those unions praising the decision to put a franchise in Perth because it provided a stopover to South Africa which meant less long distance travel for their super franchises. But we all remember things differently when we want to paint a picture of the devil.

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