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Back row stars sign long term deals

Homegrown Western Australian flanker Kane Koteka has signed a new three-year deal, with fellow back row star Tim Anstee signing a two-year contract.

Koteka was the first ever graduate of the Future Force Foundation academy to make a Super Rugby appearance.

Since debuting for the Force against the Hurricanes in 2015, Koteka has become an influential figure for his hometown club making 41 appearances to date playing predominantly as a flanker.

Koteka’s consistency and determination culminated in being named the 2021 Nathan Sharpe Medal winner for 2021 (Western Force men’s best and fairest) following an outstanding Super Rugby campaign.

Having built a formidable reputation as a team first player full of energy and toughness at both ends of the field, Koteka is thrilled to have signed a long-term contract.

“As a WA local, it means a lot to me to continue to play for the Force in front of my family and friends,” Koteka said.

“It was always my goal to represent this club in Super Rugby since I joined the academy when I was 15. To have got to this stage and spent a majority of my career in this environment is massive for me personally. “I’m very thankful for all the opportunities the club has given me and I’m looking forward to giving everything over the next three years.”

Anstee has established himself as a key member of the Force squad in just his second season of Super Rugby.

After bursting onto the Super Rugby scene in 2021 with a string of noteworthy performances, Anstee continued to impress this year. The 25-year-old enjoyed a powerful campaign as one of the leading carriers and turnover winners in the team playing all but one match (14 of 15).

The former Australian 7s representative has become a constant threat for opposition defences with his athleticism and versatility across the back row.

Anstee is pleased to continue his time in Western Australia and is excited by the future of the Force.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time so far here in Perth with the Force. They were the first club to give me an opportunity to play Super Rugby, so it’s great to repay their faith in me and be locked in for another two years,” Anstee said.

“We want to be playing finals and ultimately competing for Super Rugby titles. On a personal level, I want to keep working towards consistency in my game and giving my all for the club.

“Next year we want more wins on the board and find a way to win those tight games. With a new coach and new faces joining the club, it will bring a new dynamic and an edge to the group.”

Having played alongside Koteka in the early stages of his career, General Manager of Rugby Matt Hodgson believes the best is still to come for the Wests Scarborough product.

“Kane is a player that gives everything to the club on and off the field,” Hodgson explained.

“After rising through the ranks of the Future Force Program as an academy player, I’ve seen him grow into an exemplary professional and an elite player for the Force over a number of years. “I can’t wait to see him continue to contribute to the Force and we continue to move forward.”

Hodgson praised Anstee’spotential and impact in attack and defence for the Force.

“Tim has shown he belongs on the Super Rugby stage after making a seamless transition from 7s,” Hodgson explained. “To be performing at such a consistent and impactful level after just two seasons is a credit to his work ethic and willingness to learn. “He’s an exciting player to watch. His ability to beat defenders and break the line has become a major weapon for us and we’re eager to see him develop further over the next two years with the club.”

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