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Thread: Western Force turn attention to rebuilding local talent pathway

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    Western Force turn attention to rebuilding local talent pathway

    Western Force turn attention to rebuilding local talent pathway
    Nick Taylor
    The West Australian
    Fri, 16 October 2020 4:25PM

    The Western Force return has given young players the chance of making their dreams come true and follow in the footsteps of their local heroes.

    When the Force were controversially axed by Rugby Australia three years ago there were more than a dozen players that had come through the academy system in the Super Rugby squad.

    As the Force get ready for next year’s Super campaign attention has also turned to rebuilding the long-term local talent pool.

    A new structure will ensure players do not slip through the cracks or get poached by Eastern States clubs with RugbyWA overseeing under-16 and under-18 groups with a pathway to the Future Force Academy.

    The move comes on the back of $5 million pledged to a grassroots-to-elite program by mining magnate Andrew Forrest who has bankrolled the rise of the Force.

    The previous pathway produced players like current Force Super squad members centre Kyle Godwin, flanker Kane Koteka and Kieran Longbottom - the 118kg prop who was the first WA player to go through local ranks to make his Super Rugby debut.

    High performance manager Anton Zackey, with head of rugby Matt Hodgson and RugbyWA, has created the homegrown focused pathway.

    “Building a successful pathway requires us to inspire from top-level while nurturing the developing talent in grassroots. That’s what we’ll be striving to achieve,” Zackey said.

    “World-class players such as (new signings) Rob Kearney, Tevita Kuridrani and leaders like Ian Prior and Marcel Brache will help inspire our next generations but will also provide key mentorship to our current emerging players.

    “The structure is designed to ultimately increase WA representation within the professional team first and foremost and in time increase WA representation in the Wallabies squad, but it is a process which will take time.

    “We will be paying close attention to all levels in the community so talented players who may not have been selected for their respective pathway programs are not forgotten.”

    Hodgson said the pathway was a long term strategy.

    “We’re confident we can further strengthen the presence of WA players within Australian representative squads of all ages, as well as the Force,” he said.

    “Dr Forrest’s generous contribution to community rugby at junior, school and club levels allows us to ensure that all WA talent has the support and opportunity to pursue their dreams of playing for the Force and then for Australia.

    “Whilst we focus on creating a strong pathway, we will be keeping a close eye on all aspects of their development to make sure we are producing people that the sport and WA can be proud of.”

    https://thewest.com.au/sport/western...ng-b881695312z

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    Whoops, apologies, just saw this in another thread after I'd it up
    Nevertheless its good news

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