A 57-5 scoreline tells us what many of us feared.
While at the start of the season the universal ‘rustiness’ evened the playing field, it is evident that as the likes of the Reds found their form the Western Force have simply lacked the depth to keep up.
Considering the obvious disadvantages facing the club in recruiting over the past few years, this is totally understandable and forgivable. Come 2021, however, and the public will be less forgiving.
So if Twiggy is serious about making his club more than a force in name only, here are some of the names that need to find their way onto his list.
Now, before we start, of course some of these players have signed contracts into 2021. But let’s be realistic: contracts don’t mean much any more, especially in a time of COVID-induced pay cuts.
So here are the players who need to be running around in blue and gold next year.
Will Skelton Want to endear yourself to the entire Australian rugby community? Bring this guy home.
Signed with French club La Rochelle until the end of 2021, it would take a bit of work to get the 28-year-old back into Wallabies contention, but replays of him bursting through the defensive line in the Waratahs 2014 semi-final reminds us all of just how much he brought in the crowds. He would immediately add some character and intimidation to your forward pack.
Isaac Rodda This is a difficult one for me. As an Australian rugby fan I find it difficult not to resent Isaac for walking out on his country when he was asked to take the same pay cut that every other player in the country was taking.
But with that said, I think back to when I was 23 and some of the stances and actions I took then, and I find myself wanting to offer this young man a chance to prove to his country that he was who we all believed him to be.
Packing down with the Western Force would be an opportunity for Rodda to save face by returning to Australian rugby without having to turn to any of the clubs that ruled out offering him respite in 2020.
But more than anything, how’s that for a second-row pairing to build a forward pack around?
Sports opinion delivered daily
Reesjan Pasitoa Rugby fans have been talking about this kid for a while, and for good reason. The problem for rugby fans, though, is: when are we going to see this kid play No. 10 for the Brumbies, let alone Wallabies?
The Brumbies have an absolute embarrassment of riches in the No. 10 department, Noah Lolesio and Bayley Kuenzle are both really strong players, both with genuine Wallabies aspirations.
How long can the Brumbies keep this future star playing in development games? He’ll be 20 next year – time to let him shine on the big stage, Twiggy.
Ryan Lonergan This will be the last player I suggest stealing from the Brumbies, I promise. But just like at flyhalf, the Brumbies have embarrassing depth at No. 9, and it’s just got deeper with the addition of Nic White.
Lonergan is probably one of the most impressive goal kickers I’ve seen in Australian rugby in years, and it’s an asset that makes him a future Wallabies contender. But I feel it might be up to the Western Force to give him the game time he needs.
Carlo Tizzano Bringing this dynamic flanker back into Western Force colours would be all the sweeter because he’s a genuine product of Western Australia.
The 20-year-old was impressive during trial games but has struggled to find any game time thanks to a dependable and in-form Waratah’s back row.
Hooper isn’t going anywhere any time soon and – touch wood – rarely gets injured.
Time to bring this kid home, Twiggy.
Isaac Lucas Like Rodda, I initially had mixed feelings about letting this kid back into the fold. But on a personal level I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside one of his brothers, and I know their family to be a good one. It is relevant to note just how much the Lucas family have given to Australian rugby over the past ten years.
Lucas would be electric at No. 15 for a young Western Force team, and Twiggy has the opportunity to offer this kid an olive branch – no pun intended – on behalf of Australian rugby.
Now add to these players some the exciting young guns who have shown themselves to be equal to Super Rugby in 2020 as well as some of the experienced heads that Twiggy has already brought back and suddenly a Western Force squad sounds not just exciting but intimidating.