Throughout the off-season, we'll be catching up with Western Force Legends to look back on their storied careers and see what they are up to. This week, it's the club's foundation captain with 92 Super Rugby appearances to his name for the club, and over 150 in total, Nathan Sharpe is the definition of a Western Force legend.
Renowned as one the world's best locks, boasting arguably the greatest lineout strategies in the game and an undoubted love for the run and carry, Sharpe etched himself into Force folklore during his seven years in the west (2006-2012).
With the club in its infancy and beginning its Super Rugby journey in 2006, the Wallabies forward was instrumental on and off the pitch.
Known as a team-first and approachable player by his teammates, Sharpe played an integral role in forming the family-first Western Force culture that lives on today.
Having arrived at the Force as a Wallaby, Sharpe cemented his status as one of the greats with the national team during his time in Perth.
Sharpe enjoyed a phenomenal 12-year Wallabies career, which included 166 Test caps, three World Cup campaigns (2003, 2007 and 2011), two John Eales Medals (best Australian rugby union player - 2007 and 2012) and 10 Tests as captain.
Sharpe's unquestionable impact has seen him immortalised with the club's best and fairest award for the men's team named in his honour - the Nathan Sharpe Medal.
WF: How does it feel to be back in Perth?
NS: Perth is a incredibly special place for me after spending close to 10 years here. Unfortunately due to family circumstances I wasn’t able to settle permanently, however fortunately for me I am back in the West often with my work.
WF: What’s your favourite memory during your seven years with the Force?
NS: The first year in particular was extremely special to me. We managed to bring a lot of unique backgrounds together and most importantly build an incredible community of supporters that turned into family. Even now when I bump into people that have been on the journey we are able to share moments that we experienced together – both the positive and negatives ones that are required to build such strong communities.
WF: What have you made of the rebirth of the Force since being reinstated into Super Rugby?
NS: The Force has been incredibly resilient and it makes me proud that I played a small part in a family that has withstood so much turmoil over the years. The competitive nature of the team since it has come back into the competition has been consistent and critical in keeping Rugby developing in WA.
WF: What do you think of the direction the Force is heading in on and off the field?
NS: It keeps building and promoting the game – giving young kids something to aspire to and be a part of. I always meet new members of the Force community in Perth and that is such an important component of keeping the game strong in WA.
WF: Any message you’d like to share to the Sea of Blue?
NS: The best supporters in Australian rugby hands down – From the heady days of 37,000 at Subiaco in the early days to the consistent crowds of 10-15,000 that come and get involved in every moment the Force play, you couldn’t ask for a better family to represent week in, week out.