Wallaroo Michaela Leonard and Japanese internationals to start in season opener.

Head Coach Matthew Hodgson has named a strong squad for the Super W season opener against the NSW Waratahs this Friday at Allianz Stadium 

Principal signing Michaela Leonard is set to start and Female High Performace Manager Claudia Bell attests her presence at training has resonated throughout the squad, lifting the pack ahead of Round 1. 

"As soon as she came to training last week, you could see her immediate impact on the wider squad. Seeing how the other girls rose to the occasion is a huge positive. The team is learning a lot from her experience and insight. You can also see her challenging others around her. It is evident why she is a Wallaroo," Bell claimed. 

With increased depth and two pre-season wins, the Force is set for an intriguing battle with the Waratahs to kick off its 2023 campaign. 

"The Waratahs are known to bring the contact. So we must bring it to them from the moment the whistle goes. We must be able to meet them, pressure them, make them make mistakes, and let us capitalize on it," Bell mentioned.

"I think in the past, you've seen moments from the Western Force where we've been dominant, but we haven't been able to sustain it. So the key focus for us is to try and sustain that mentality."

The squad contains several familiar faces, including fly-half Nicole Ledington, captain Trilleen Pomare and full-back Aiysha Wigley, who are all named to start.

"Somebody to watch out for is Trilleen Pomare. She has really come into her own. She's starting to enjoy her rugby more, so you're starting to see that creative flare come out," Bell commented. 

"Nicole Lennington, our young fly-half, is someone to keep a close eye on. Her ability to game manage and use her kicking to our advantage is really starting to develop. She's an exciting player to watch."

"Lastly, you can't miss our little kamakazi, Yuna at number eight. She is a worker, so definitely keep watching her around the field, because she won't quit."

Game Details:

Western Force v Waratahs Friday, March 24 | Allianz Stadium, Sydney 

Super W kick-off 2:05pm AWST (Round 1)