Young talent step up in narrow pre-season match


Head coach, Simon Cron named 29 of his 32-man travelling squad, using a rotational bench with unlimited substitutions.

They were not afraid to use some adventurous kicking and good handling as they blew-out cobwebs. 

Winger Kainoa Gudgeon crossed first with Gio Leituala, George Poolman and Otunuku (Nuku) Pautu, each grabbing a try. All converted.

A promising start for the Force, with West Scarborough product, Gudgeon taking a well-timed intercept on the right wing minutes into the match. The winger ran near 50-meters, scoring just beside the posts. Converted by Jake Strachan (0-7). 

The Forward pack was busy in the first half with a handful of heavyweight hits and scrum contests. 11-minutes in, the Force came under pressure and the D-Rocks capitalised off the rolling momentum at scrum time.

Former Wallaby, Israel Folau won the race to touch down a grubber kick in the corner. Converted by Otere Black for the D-Rocks (7-7).

The Force, quick to seize on any D-Rocks mistakes, almost made them pay after another long-range breakout. But, they were ruled to have knocked-on before crossing the line. 

The long-range breakout was not the sole property of the Force. Masahide Yanagawa pounced on an error to put Urayasu ahead after 30 minutes. Unconverted. (12-7)

They increased their lead to 19-7 in the dying seconds of the first half when Kanushi Hano was on the receiving end of a rolling maul. Converted by the D-Rocks.

As the game opened in the second half, Cron rolled the changes. A rapid pass by veteran Ian Prior to debutant Leituala, saw the home side on the backward step. Skilled footwork and impressive leg drives by the youngster overthrew two D-Rock defenders to seal the ball over the line. Strachan added the extras, closing the gap (19-14).

A line-out steal from Michael Wells provided an opening for Prior to gain ground with a lengthy kick. A punishing tackle from New Zealand-born, United Stated recruit Felix Kalapu couldn’t hold the home side’s pace down. Hitting back with a convincing maul attack, rolling over for their fourth. The D-Rocks converted, bringing the score to (26-14).

Angus Wagner and Sifa Amone made an impact on their rotation. Scrum time was their heartbeat, shifting the momentum Force’s way, gaining advantage after pushing through at the 50-minute mark.

Fortescue Academy Player George Poolman was electric off a miraculous set play. Breaking through three opponents, he was a class act, scoring between the posts. The conversion was successful, and the Force trailed 26-21.

The Force bounced back shortly after. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa’s speed off the breakdown curated a precise try for Bayswater product Pautu. Hitting the lead after a successful conversion (26-28) for the first time since the opening minutes. 

But the lead lasted just a few minutes before D-Rocks went over from close range for the winning score. Converted.

Western Force

Tries: Gudgeon, Leituala, Poolman, Pautu

Conversions: Strachan (4)

Penalties: Nil