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Western Force Visit the Great Southern

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What a wonderful weekend for Rugby Enthusiasts

The weekend of November 26 and 27 saw a touring party from the newly formed “Emirates Western Force”. The new Perth based Super 14 Rugby team continued on their promotional visits to country W.A.

With 16 members making the trek to the beautiful Great Southern. The touring party included Ben Darwin, now a member of the coaching staff, was a member of the Wallabies at the 2003 World Cup. He sustained a career ending injury and is now regarded as an up and coming coach. Scott Daruda was selected in this year’s Wallabies touring party for the Spring Tour to the U.K. Scott was forced out of the squad when he sustained a hamstring strain at the training camp. Junior Pelesasa who played for the Queensland REDS last season was also in the touring party.

After a phone call from a good mate of mine when the side left Kojonup, a number of the touring party called into the Mt Barker Bowls and Sporting Club for a quick beer and a chat before heading to Albany. Players chatted and played pool with the members that were present at the time.

Saturday morning saw a coaching clinic for the kids held on Middleton Beach, with approximately 40 kids turning up from all over the Great Southern. Players then hung around for photos and autographs. All kids that attended had a great time and learnt a few finer points of the game.

The guys had a few hours to have a look around Albany before heading back to Mt Barker.

Saturday afternoon saw a tour of Goundrey Wines and an afternoon of bowls and pool at the Mt Barker Bowls and Sporting Club. It seems they were really impressed with Bowling Club, and thoroughly enjoyed the time to relax and unwind from their usaual 6 days a week training schedule.

Saturday night we all gathered at the Whistle Stop for a good hearty feed and a gathering of several members of the Rugby Fraternity with several stories of past glories being told by past and present players of the game. A big thanks to Chris and Sandy and the staff from the Whistle Stop for their hospitality a great feed.

Sadly Sunday saw the weather kill the plans of breakfast and a game of touch football on the beach. However the player and staff from the Western Force met with players from the Great Southern Rugby Union for a chat, photos and autographs, this appeared to be a huge highlight for a lot of the Great Southern players.

With the squad leaving mid morning for the return trip to Perth, came a look of relief and excitement on the faces of many involved with rugby in the Great Southern. The knowledge that the game is growing in stature along with a strong supporter base for both the Emirates Western Force and the Great Southern Rugby Union has left all involved excited.

The next big event for the Mt Barker Rugby Club is the Mt Barker 10 a side tournament, which is being held over the Easter weekend. Several clubs from Perth have already expressed an interest in attending.