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Thread: Give Gits and the boys time: Mitch

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    Give Gits and the boys time: Mitch

    Give Gits and the boys time: Mitch

    Thursday, January 25, 2007
    c/o Rugby Heaven


    Coach John Mitchell has cautioned Western Force fans not to expect too much, too soon from million dollar recruit Matt Giteau.

    The lightning-quick Wallabies star last year joined the Perth side from the Brumbies on a three-year deal that made him the highest paid player in Australia.

    He has his first outing for the Force Thursday night against Manu Samoa in the final trial match ahead of the Super 14 competition, joining fellow star back signings Drew Mitchell and league convert Ryan Cross.

    But Mitchell, whose side finished last in its Super 14 debut last year, said that one man didn't make a backline, and it would take time for his new-look ensemble to gel.

    "This game is all about being a team ... this backline is going to need time together," Mitchell said.

    "We want to obviously get accuracy immediately but it is going take time.

    "This backline is going to have to learn and get familiar with each other."

    Under the Wallabies' Restricted Training Activity (RTA) agreement, Giteau and Force skipper and Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe are allowed to play only the last 40 minutes of the team's trial game at Members Equity Stadium.

    James Hilgendorf, who has been left out of the squad for the Manu Samoa game, and Scott Daruda are currently front-runners to start at five-eighth this season.

    Mitchell has been adamant (well, used to be adamant, has softened since the Tour!) Giteau will play inside centre despite a fairly successful experiment at halfback for the Wallabies on their European tour, and Matt Henjak will start at No.9.

    However with another Wallaby, Scott Staniforth, and Junior Pelesasa also able to wear the No.12 jersey, the coach must be tempted to try the versatile Giteau in the main playmaker's role at five eighth at some stage this season.

    That would ensure room for Digby Ioane, who impressed last season and in the Force's opening trial against the Crusaders last week, to fill one wing position with Mitchell on the other.

    Mitchell is relishing the prospect of much-needed extra backline depth to supplement his competitive forward pack.

    "With this years combination of people we can probably look at putting out two particular backline combinations based on what the opposition offer or what we want to get out of the game," said Mitchell.

    Staniforth has also been left out of the Samoa clash as he continues his recovery from an abductor injury, however he is expected to be fit for the Force's opening Super 14 round against the Highlanders on February 2.

    Mitchell was pleased with the opening half of his side's 28-12 loss to the champion Crusaders in Melbourne last week, although they faded toward the end of the match.

    He said he was expecting another physical encounter against the Samoans, despite their recent 31-3 loss to Queensland.

    "By the time we get to the Highlanders game just about everyone in the squad will have had some competition football," Mitchell said.

    "Last week was very, very good for us.

    "The first 20 minutes was outstanding we just have to sustain that performance for a lot longer this week."

    Western Force squad for Samoa match:

    Forwards: AJ Whalley, Angus Scott, Brendan Cannon, Pek Cowan, David Pocock, David Pusey, Gareth Hardy, Luke Doherty, Luke Holmes, Matt Hodgson, Matt Windle, Nathan Sharpe (c), Richard Brown, Rudi Vedelago, Scott Fava, Troy Takiari.

    Backs: Brett Stapleton, Cameron Shepherd, Chris O'Young, Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell, Haig Sare, James Stannard, Junior Pelesasa, Matt Giteau, Matt Henjak, Ryan Cross, Scott Daruda

    AAP

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    I heard John .M. on 6PR during the morning yesterday or the day before on the morning show and there was a question asked about the membership which was down at the moment.
    John rightfully answered that Subi oval may have played a part in the membership being not where it was this time last year.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Everyone must be loving Members Equity after last nights game - not wanting to sound too negative - the lads weren't as good as they could be (weather and cobwebs and new team members certainly disrupted their game - although the new [and existing] team members also did a good job of showing us what they have to offer!) but the ground was a great venue. I personally (without any inside information) fully expect MES to be upgraded to accomodate the Force - if it can maintain it's current intimacy - I'd expect they would do very well...

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    Player chiselhead's Avatar
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    This crap would be OK back in the 70's
    These blokes are fulltime professionals. They get out of bed at 10AM and go to training. They can run moves and pass the ball to each other all bloody day 7 days a week if they want.
    The combination will be sharp at 7:05PM Feb 2nd

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    Force hints at Giteau's pivotal role

    Force hints at Giteau's pivotal role

    By Chris Pike, c/o Fox Sports
    January 26, 2007


    MAT Giteau may yet emerge as a Rugby World Cup contender in a third position after spending time at five-eighth in his first game for Western Force.

    Giteau, restricted by the Australia's training agreement for its wallabies players, played only the first half as a highly impressive Force ran in nine tries while hammering Manu Samoa 59-10 in its final Super 14 trial in sweltering heat in perth last night.

    Playing his first match since making a generally successful experimental switch to halfback for the Wallabies in their four Tests in Europe in November, the multi-million-dollar Force signing spent 20 minutes in his usual position at inside centre and 20 minutes in the chief playmaker role at five eighth against Manu Samoa.

    Force coach John Mitchell has shown little interest in using Giteau at halfback in the Super 14, as he's fairly well served with Matt Henjak and Chris O'Young.

    Mitchell indicated that Giteau was signed as an inside centre, but he could be tempted to use his versatile and gifted recruit at five-eighth on the principle of putting the best player in the key position - an area where Force struggled last season.

    Asked where he wanted to play, Giteau said: "Definitely, for the Super 14s, not halfback, so I can rule that out.

    "Fly half or inside centre, I would think, but I can't say too much as the coach is right next to me."

    Giteau didn't get much ball against Samoans, but did some nice things and showed that his kicking game would be a huge advantage as the season unfolds.

    Mitchell certainly has depth to cover the centre berths, as Junior Pelesasa impressed last night - as did rugby league recruit Ryan Cross, who scored two tries.

    He also has Scott Staniforth, who was was a standout in the centres last season.

    Giteau was happy just to play his first game ahead of the Super 14 opener against the Highlanders at Subiaco Oval on Friday night.

    "I've had a couple of weeks training with the boys, but you don't really jell as a team until you get out there and play," he said.

    "I really enjoyed my time out there.

    "There are still some things we need to work on, but I enjoyed being a Force man."

    Force has high hopes and expectations for Giteau, but he's playing down his importance to the team.

    "I just want to try and fit into the side," he said.

    "The team's made up of 15 players, and I just look at myself as one of those.

    "I have to perform my role the best I can, and that is exciting seeing what this team can do.

    "Obviously, we don't want to get too carried away with one trial match against Samoa, but all the boys are confident and looking forward to round one."

    Mitchell is delighted with the transition former Sydney Roosters player Cross is making.

    "Cross is going well, and adapted to the game really well," Mitchell said.

    "Of all the rugby league converts that I've worked with, he's adapted to the breakdown the quickest.

    "He's been asking to come to grips with it and has done so."

    Mitchell refused to get excited with the size of last night's win, but he saw plenty of pleasing signs.

    "We got through plenty on attack and defence," he said.

    "Sometimes you play games where you might only get through a couple of patterns, but we actually got a really good mixture.

    "Crossing(for tries) wasn't ultimately what we look at. It's more the execution of the work.

    "We did a lot of good work off the ball, and the way the boys respected the Samoans was also a good sign.

    "Come next week, the tackle contest and breakdown will become major players in the performance, so stakes will get bigger."

    AAP

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