Five things we learnt from Force-Brumbies

Sun, May 21, 2023, 12:55 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Western Force welcomed a rotated Brumbies side to Perth

The Western Force ended a 14-game losing streak against the ACT Brumbies with a 34-19 win at HBF Park.

It's crucial for their finals hopes, jumping into the top eight over the Highlanders.

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It sets up a cracking finish to the season whilst the Brumbies will look to put the loss behind them when the majority of their first-choice starters return.

So what did we learn?


A year ago, the Force would’ve lost games like this against the Brumbies. In fact, they did. Twice.

The difference under Simon Cron is the Force have learnt how to close out tight games and now find themselves controlling their own finals destiny.

The influence of HBF Park has been a big factor in this. The 'Sea of Blue' get around their team and rode every big hit when the Brumbies struggled late.

The ground now rivals HFC Stadium in Suva as one of the tougher places to win. They’ve won six on the trot and whilst they have the Chiefs coming over in a fortnight, don’t count this team out with the way they lift.


Stephen Larkham has twice made mass changes and forced to watch games in the balance fall away from the Brumbies.

The Brumbies must rally for what will be a crucial home match against the top-ranked Chiefs.

They slipped behind the Crusaders into third and need a strong result next week to lock up a home final - and potential semi.

With gambles like this, you only truly find out whether it pays off until later in the season when it comes down to the crunch times.

No one will remember the loss if their rested stars come back and take them one step further than last year


After trialling a bevy of combinations, Simon Cron has found his man in Max Burey.

Burey suits the style of rugby Cron wants to play and really has added a new dimension to their attack.

He was excellent for the Force in controlling the game and stepping up the challenge that the Brumbies possess.

It also allows Hamish Stewart to revert to his natural game at 12, kick-starting their dominant first half with a try before putting Sam Spink over.


Tom Hooper has returned a man on a mission from injury

Hooper was a breakout star for the Brumbies in 2022 but found any chances of pressing his case as a Wallabies bolter derailed after an injury early in the season.

With the Brumbies resting Cadeyrn Neville and Nick Frost, Hooper took his chance to shine.

He looked damaging whenever he carried the ball and constantly took the ball over the advantage line.

It speaks to the depth of the Brumbies that Hooper may not be in their best 23, with Darcy Swain once again strong with his second try in a fortnight


The Western Force can’t afford to lose Tom Robertson with Santiago Medrano still sitting on the sidelines.

Robertson’s value continues to grow as he dominates whichever side of the scrum the Force needs him to.

On the time of his departure, the prop led the Force for tackles with 13 along with some quality carries.

The sight of Robertson on crutches will be a big concern for Force fans.