The Road Safety Western Force return to NIB stadium this weekend after a good win on the road against the Jaguares in Argentina, and it is vital if you want the Super Rugby franchise to remain in Western Australia that fans are at out in force on Saturday night.
When the Force fought a tough battle against the Chiefs from New Zealand in round nine the fans turned out in large numbers and a crowd of 14089 clicked through the turnstiles. This was at a crucial time, as this was the first home game after Western Australia had stood up to the Australian Rugby Union and said that their franchise would not be cut to accommodate the reduction of teams without a fight.
Regrettably, a week later when South Africa’s Lions were the opponents the crowd had virtually halved. Only 7,351 came into the stadium to support the team and that seven thousand is far from magnificent.
What this clearly shows is that when the big New Zealand teams like the Chiefs and the Crusaders come to town the New Zealanders living in Perth come out to support their team, but the Force need them to come every week. Without their support of the Force they may lose the opportunity of watching their heroes in action when they come to Perth. Is that what they really want? So it is vital that they come out and support the game of rugby, not just their team.
The Ex-pat South Africans interestingly in the main appear to have switched allegiances, and are here to support the Force rather than the teams they supported back at home, but there would still be some who only come out when their team comes to town. Once again the Force needs these fans to come to every home game between now and the end of the season.
The Force play four of their last five games at home and need to throw down a marker that shows that they can achieve regular gates of ten thousand to strengthen their case to remain a Super Rugby team. It is vital that the team performs well in these last games and climbs the Conference ladder. Currently they sit one point behind the Waratahs in fourth place and are only two points behind the Reds who have played an extra game. They play the Reds away next weekend and the Waratahs in their last game. So finishing higher is a real possibility.
The players have shown they are totally committed to the cause, it is now time that all rugby fans come and support the team, the game, and Western Australia having a team in this competition. Put aside any code rivalries, this is about Western Australia being a part of a national competition and having a team playing in one of the best leagues in the world in that sport. Be warned if we lose the Super Rugby franchise Test matches may soon follow.
Finally here is a plea to all the rugby clubs in Western Australia, Nedlands has led the way and it is important that all other clubs follow their lead. Nedlands purchased eight A Class shares in Rugby WA’s “Own the Force” campaign. Nedlands Juniors and Nedlands Seniors will hold four shares each.
Some clubs may not be able to afford eight shares, but if each club can purchase two that will go a long way. As Nedlands Club President Peter Malcolm is quoted as saying on the club’s website “As a club that has benefited from the Western Force being based in Perth we felt as a club it was time to ‘pay back’ to the Force at a time when they now need the local rugby community’s support more than ever.”
Rather than the May the Force be with you it is crucial that you, the people of Western Australia, are with the Force, and come to the games!