Mitchell sitting pretty in Perth




The Western Force, Australia’s stand-out Super 14 franchise this year, are set to retain one of their prime assets – coach John Mitchell.

Mitchell told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) he is hoping to have a two-year extension to his contract finalised by next week.

With the Force’s slim semi-final hopes resting on a bonus point win against the Cheetahs at Subiaco Oval in Perth on Friday, the long-term future of the coach looks more secure, after Mitchell promised he was not looking to “muck around”.

And with the majority of the Force’s pressing player contracts sewn up with the re-signing of Scott Staniforth last week, the team’s hierarchy’s determination to persuade Mitchell to also prolong his stay has flattered the former All Black coach.

“It has been really positive, and I am honoured by the club to open negotiations before the season has even finished,” Mitchell told AAP.

“I don’t want to muck around people, they have been fantastic in their professionalism.

“So I would like to get it all tied up by the end of next week so the players are settled and my family are settled.”

Mitchell’s agent John Fordham, who also represents Force recruits Cameron Shepherd, Ryan Cross and Lachlan Mackay, was a key in bringing Mitchell to Perth in February 2005, despite Australian Rugby Union officials expressing a preference for a homegrown coach.

But after Mitchell’s style then had him ironically touted as a potential Wallaby coach, Force chief executive Peter O’Meara moved quickly – despite another season still to run on the Kiwi’s original three-year deal.

“I still had another year on contract, but it was always going to be decided by what the club wanted to do and I guess what I wanted to do from this point onwards,” Mitchell said.

“It is fantastic to be involved in the foundation period, but also to have a chance to continue momentum and move forward and bring some success to this club.

“The greatest opportunity for us all is that we stay together for a lengthy period and get better at what we do.

“Eventually we will bring success and we will become the most deserving.”


365 Digital

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