2011 Super Rugby Western Force Player of the Year

2011 Super Rugby Western Force Player of the Year

Whilst the Western Force will take SOME satisfaction from finishing third in the Australian conference, ahead of traditional high flyers the Brumbies and the rookie Rebels, their overall placing of twelfth was largely disappointing.  Still, let’s focus on the positives and the new coaching staff of Richard Graham, Nick Stiles and Phil Blake will be stoked with the emergence of some new stars (Wykes, Dellit and Stannard) whilst spinning the fact that they Force had many close losses. Sure these close losses would seem to indicate an inability to close out games and thus a questionable mindset, but again, the positives.

To really focus on the positives its time to go back and look at each game, one by one, to see who the G&GR forum decided was the Force Player of the Match in each game and, ultimately, was the Green and Gold Rugby Western Force  Player of the Year in 2011.

Round 1 v. Reds 

3 – James O’Connor

2 – Nathan Sharpe
1 – David Pocock

QUEENSLAND REDS 21 (Saia Faingaa, James Hanson tries; Quade Cooper con, 3 pens)  bt WESTERN FORCE 20 (James O’Connor try, 5 pens).

Round 3 v. Sharks 

3 – Ben McCalman
2 – Matt Hodgson
1 – Nick Cummins

SHARKS 39 (Willem Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis, Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndungane, Steven Sykes tries Lambie 4 cons 2 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 12 (James O’Connor 4 pens)

Round 4 v. Blues 

3 – James O’Connor

2 – Matt Hodgson
1 – Ben McCalman

WESTERN FORCE 22 (Nick Cummins try James O’Connor con 5 pens) drew BLUES 22 (Keven Mealamu try Stephen Brett con Luke McAlister 4, Brett pens)

Round 5 v. Lions

3 – Cameron Shepherd
2 – James O’Connor
1 – Alfi Mafi

WESTERN FORCE 27 (Nick Cummins, Alfi Mafi tries Cameron Shepherd con James O’Connor 5 pens) bt LIONS 15 (Elton Jantjies 4 pens drop goal)

Round 6 v. Stormers

3 – James O’Connor

2 – Nathan Sharpe
1 – Nick Cummins

STORMERS 51 (Deon Fourie 2, Jaque Fourie 2, Andries Bekker, Jean De Villiers tries Peter Grant 6 cons 3 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 16 (James O’Connor try con 3 pens)

Round 7 v. Rebels

3 – Sam Wykes
2 – James O’Connor
1 – Cameron Shepherd

WESTERN FORCE 25 (Sam WykesNathan CharlesRory Sideytries James O’Connor 2 cons 2 pens) bt MELBOURNE REBELS 26(Matt Gerrard, Hugh PyleRichard Kingi tries Danny Cipriani con, 3 pens)

Round 8 v. Waratahs

3 – James O’Connor
2 – Brett Sheehan
1 – Ben McCalman

NSW WARATAHS 31 (Drew Mitchell 2, Kurtley Beale, Tom Carter tries Beale 4 cons pen) bt WESTERN FORCE 3 (James O’Connor pen)

Round 9 v. Brumbies

3 – Nathan Sharpe

2 – James O’Connor
1 – David Smith

WESTERN FORCE 27 (David Smith 2, James O’Connor tries O’Connor 2, William Ripia cons O’Connor 2 pens) bt BRUMBIES 19 (Matt Giteau try con 4 pens)

Round 10 v. Bulls

3 – James O’Connor
2 – Richard Brown

1 – Sam Wykes

WESTERN FORCE 26 (Cameron Shepherd try James O’Connor 6, William Ripia pens) bt BULLS 21 (Bjorn Basson, Chilliboy Ralepelle tries Morne Steyn con 3 pens)

Round 11 v. Crusaders

3 – David Pocock
2 – James O’Connor
1 -Nathan Sharpe

CRUSADERS 42 (Israel Dagg 2, Corey Flynn, Kahn Fotuali’i, Sonny Bill Williams tries Matthew Berquist 4 cons 3 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 30 (Cameron Shepherd 2 tries William Ripia con James O’Connor 5, Ripia pens)

Round 12 v. Waratahs

3 – David Pocock

2  – Richard Brown
1 – James O’Connor

NSW WARATAHS 20 (Ryan Cross, John Ulugia tries Kurtley Beale 2 cons 2 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 15 (James O’Connor 5 pens)

Round 14 v. Brumbies

3 – Sam Wykes
2 – Nathan Sharpe

1 – David Pocock

WESTERN FORCE 13 (Sam Wykes try James O’Connor con 2 pens) drew BRUMBIES 13 (Henry Speight try Matt Giteau con 2 pens)

Round 15 v. Hurricanes

3 – James Stannard
2 – Cameron Shepherd
1 – Nathan Sharpe

HURRICANES 34 (Ma’a Nonu 2, James Broadhurst, Cory Jane tries Aaron Cruden 4 cons 2 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 28 (Ben McCalman, Cameron Shepherd, Rory Sidey
tries Shepherd 2 cons 3 pens)

Round 16 v. Highlanders

3 – Matt Hodgson
2 – David Smith
1 – James Stannard

WESTERN FORCE 21 (David Smith 2 tries James Stannard con 3 pens) bt HIGHLANDERS 14 (Ben Smith try Lima Sopoaga 3 pens)

Round 17 v. Reds

3 – David Pocock
2 – James O’Connor
1 – Matt Hodgson

QUEENSLAND REDS 24 (Quade Cooper, Scott Higginbotham, Dom Shipperley tries Cooper 3 cons pen) bt WESTERN FORCE 21 (Rory Sidey 2, David Pocock tries James O’Connor 2 pens)

Round 18 v. Rebels

3 – David Smith

2 – Matt Hodgson
1 – Brett Sheehan

WESTERN FORCE 27 (David Smith, James Stannard tries William Ripia con Stannard 4, Ripia pens) bt MELBOURNE REBELS 24 (Adam Freier, Stirling Mortlock tries Mortlock con Danny Cipriani 4 pens)

It really is no use trying to build the suspense with this one as James O’Connor ran away with the competition winning it in a land slide. This can only make his decision to leave the Force and move to the Rebels all the more painful for those in WA. It is difficult to dispute such a margin as JOC was by far the most consistently dangerous player for the Force whilst scoring the majority of their points himself. The overall voting was as follows:

Rank Player Points
1st James O’Connor 26
2nd Nathan Sharpe 11
David Pocock 11
4th Matt Hodgson 10
5th Sam Wykes 7
6th Cameron Shepherd 6
David Smith 6
8th Ben McCalman 5
9th Richard Brown 4
James Stannard 4
11th Brett Sheehan 3
12th Nick Cummins 2
13th Alfi Mafi 1

Whilst the margin to second place is considerable, it is no surprise to see the usual contenders Nathan Sharpe, David Pocock and Matt Hodgson filling out the minor placings. Oh if only the Force could have kept them all on the field for longer. Interesting to note that the Official Force Player of the Year was David Smith, who came in equal 6th on the G&GR. Did he deserve to be higher or are the folk at Green and Gold Rugby better judges than the Western Force?  Who else are you surprised by and who are we missing?

Stay tune for tomorrow when we look back at the Waratah’s season.



Every year Green and Gold Rugby awards their various Player of the Year Awards, as voted by the members of our forum. This is done by way of your basic 3-2-1 voting structure after every game. So head over to the forum and join in the fun.

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