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Head gear replaced with hard hat for Fortescue mine site visit

Recently, 14 Western Force staff and players embarked on a journey to Fortescue’s newest iron ore mine, Eliwana.

Jake Strachan, Grayson Makara and seven Fortescue academy players, made the trek up north, opening their horizons to the diverse industries and opportunities available through our major partner, Fortescue Metals Group Limited.

Player development manager, Scott Hancock claims assisting and supporting players in their development away from the field, is essential and the Western Force are leading the way.

“I work closely with each individual from both the Super Rugby team and the Academy program, challenging them to look beyond rugby. It is important to set their careers and lives up for whenever rugby concludes,” Hancock stated.

“There are many reasons behind taking players to a Fortescue mine site, arguably the most important aspect was to give our athletes exposure to what life is like working in the mining industry. Sport is a privilege to work in, it also has a short life expectancy. The more we can expose our players to different industries and working opportunities, the better prepared they will be.”

Constantly reinforcing the importance of family and creating a supportive team around you, was evident in Eliwana. This prompted players to quickly draw parallels between a mine site and a rugby team.

“The biggest take away was how each member of the site lived the organisation’s values. There was a lot of enthusiasm! Safety was their biggest priority, with a focus on building a culture that empowers each person to look out, challenge and retain their team. Like professional athletes, the mining industry requires significant time away from families. It was evident that everyone onsite was connected. They look out for each other, and they have a genuine passion for what they are trying to achieve,” Hancock discussed.

Fun fact: Commencing operations in 2020, the Eliwana site has the capacity to direct load onto trains up to 9,000 tonnes per hour, that’s equal to 90 blue whales… slightly heavier than our scrum pack.