2008 Super 14 was a wasted opportunity: John Mitchell


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Western Force coach John Mitchell says that the 2008 Super 14 was a wasted opportunity for his team even theough they finished as the second best Australian Team.

The Force won four of the first six games of the season and looked to be well on track for the Semi-Finals but a drop off in the middle of the season saw them drop put of contention.

“I see this campaign as a totally wasted opportunity. I would have liked to see us further ahead than where we are. We have a few things we have to get right on-field going forward and things to get right off-field,” Mitchell told Sportal.

“We need to lift our standards as a club, but in saying that we have the ability to contest finals, we just have to find the recipe.”

“We will be going through a professional review and will look at the playing list, coaching structure, operations and the whole football program.


“It’s not just about identifying problems; it will be about bringing solutions and finding necessary inputs to get better. There’s plenty of learning coming out of this year and maybe it could be a bit of a turning point going forward.”

After 26 minutes at Subiaco Oval on Friday night the Force trailed 22-0, but then finished the game with 29 unanswered points which gave them their first ever win over the Brumbies.

One thing Mitchell was pleased about was the comeback and the fact that the Force have now beaten or drawn with every team in the competition, although he felt it was a scant consolation.

“The second half was an outstanding performance and the boys need to be commended for that. Thank god there’s two halves in a game of rugby. We gave them too much quick ball in the first half, our contacts were average and when we did have it through receipt we just kicked it back, so clearly the game was won by us keeping the ball after that,” he said.

“It’s important to us because this result means we have beaten every club in the competition except the Crusaders and Waratahs, who we’ve drawn with. That gives us the belief that we can beat anyone, what we have to learn now is how to sustain it and not have as many speed bumps along the way.”

The result was significant for the Force as they were without players like Drew Mitchell, Ryan Cross, Scott Staniforth, Nick Cummins, Scott Fava, Tom Hockings and Tamaiti Horua against the Brumbies, but the biggest positive has been the development of young players James O’Connor, Josh Tatupu and Dane Haylett-Petty.

“I believe in this group totally and I believe in the way we play. We are just an enigma at this moment and you just don’t know what’s going to turn up. I come from a culture where consistency and perseverance is the only way that you ultimately get something in the end,” he said.

“One of the good things to come out of the campaign and with the list being hit hard by injury is that it has introduced 10 new players and some of the youth is quite outstanding.

“The hardest thing for those players is that the earlier you are exposed, the quicker you will have to sustain the effort in preparation and keep your feet on the ground. That will become a management issue for the senior players and coaching group.”

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