Former Waratahs and Brumbies versatile back Alfie Mafi has joined the Western Force for the 2011 Super Rugby season which starts in less than 100 days. .
Mafi, who had previous stints with the Waratahs and Brumbies, has battled bad luck on the injury front in his four seasons of Super Rugby but completed everything asked of him by the Emirates Western Force medical and conditioning teams and has been rewarded with a place in the 2011 squad.
"What we see in Alfie is a player with enormous potential and someone with the desire and focus to realise that talent," Western Force Head Coach Richard Graham said.
"Alfie has worked hard over the last few weeks and arrived for the start of our ‘official' pre-season training in wonderful condition. He gave himself every opportunity to get through the testing and it's that level of commitment that is needed to succeed at the top level.
"We're excited to have him as part of the programme, I think he is a really good kid and has a lot of upside for us."
Mafi then headed to the nation's capital, and while injury limited his involvement on a consistent basis, he added another six games in two seasons, including a maiden try against the Cheetahs in round nine this year.
An invitation to head to WA and work under the new coaching structure at the Emirates Western Force was an opportunity the 22 year was keen to explore and is determined to make the move west a winner.
"It's something I think I needed to do, it's a challenge I was really keen to take on and to make the most of. I've always enjoyed the way the rugby has been played at the Emirates Western Force and I'm really looking forward to the season," Mafi said.
"I've had a few injuries that have set me back, including two broken ankles and fractured fibula, and after that you tend to be playing catch-up footy. Having a good pre-season is top of my list and then hopefully press for game time when the season comes around."
While Mafi has occupied a wing for the majority of his Super Rugby career he has the versatility, and experience garnered during his formative years, to add more strings to his bow, with Force coaching staff eyeing a move to the centres on the back of the youngsters' capacity to break opposition lines.
"He is a lively type and has an ability to beat defenders just through his sheer dynamism and strength. He is rarely tackled by the first defender and will add depth to our backs," Graham said.
"He knows he still has a number of aspects to work on and we'll work closely with Alfie to help him round out his game and achieve his potential."
Name: Alfie Mafi (*please note that Alfie is spelt with an ‘e' on the end)
Date of Birth: 8/6/1988
Super 12/14 Points: 5 (1t)
Super 12/14 Caps: 16 (9 Waratahs, 7 Brumbies)
Club: Sydney University
Honours: Australian U19's, Australian Sevens 2007