AJ to stay in Blue in 2009


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Emirates Western Force prop AJ Whalley has secured his future with the team beyond this season, signing off on a new deal with RugbyWA.

A popular figure with Emirates Western Force supporters, the larrikin tighthead prop from Grafton on the NSW north coast has signed on for the 2009 season, with an option to continue with the team in 2010.

The 25 year old made his Investec Super 14 debut in last year’s epic first home victory for the Perth-based team against the Hurricanes at Subiaco Oval.

The former Australian Under 21s and Australian Sevens representative went on to record 7 caps in his rookie year and has played in every game of the WA sides’ 2008 campaign, starting all but two matches in the number 3 jersey.

RugbyWA acting Chief Executive Mitch Hardy said Whalley was an important part of the team’s plans going forward.

‘AJ has been a mainstay in the match 22 since mid-way through last season and together with Pek Cowan, Troy Takiari and Keiran Longbottom forms an exciting young quartet of props at the club,’ said Hardy.

Whalley, a foundation member of the Emirates Western Force, said he had no reason to look beyond Perth to continue his development as a player.

‘Were on the way up. There’s a good atmosphere in the club, a great bunch of blokes and we’re playing some pretty good rugby,’ said Whalley.

‘The future looks good. Why wouldn’t I want to stay here?’ he said.

Whalley said the four props at the WA club had moulded into a tight-knit group.

‘Unlike the other Australian teams we don’t have Wallabies props, but we’re maturing as a group and developing at a good rate. We’re holding our own at scrum time.’

AJ Whalley

Position: Prop
Physical: 1.86m, 117kg
Age: 25 (Born 20/05/82 in Grafton, NSW)
Super 14 Caps: 15
Super 14 Points: 5 (1t)
Super 14 Debut: 2007 v Hurricanes, Perth
Representative Honours: Australian Under 21s, Australian Sevens

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