Western Force and Wallabies flanker Matt Hodgson was today made club captain under new coach Michael Foley and is expected to be appointed team captain to lead the side next season.
Hodgson, a foundation player who has made 83 appearances for the club, said he was honoured to be leading the club into a new era under Foley who signed from the NSW Waratahs earlier this week.
Hodgson, a two-times Force player of the year award in 2009 and 2010 and three-times winner of the Force Man award in '06, 07 and 2010, is behind only Nathan Sharpe with 92 matches for the Force.
He has been capped six times for the Wallabies and last year won the Rugby Union Players Association Academic Award, recognising his off-field development that has seen him complete a Bachelor of Science, and currently working towards a Masters in Sports Law.
He captained the Force in June in their 42-0 win over the South Australian President’s XV in Adelaide.
“This is a great honour,” he said. “I’ve always thought of myself as being a leader by example but now I have the opportunity to stand in front of these guys and lead them into action.
“I want to still lead by example and that includes everything both on and off the field.
“Everyone’s excited about the new chapter we get to write next year. We have lost a couple of excellent players in David Pocock and Sharpie (Nathan Sharpe) but this playing group will go from strength to strength.
"We’ll focus about us as a team, we’ll have that team mentality and we know that the team is greater than one player and we’ll be stronger for that.
“With the appointment of a new coach and captain, this provides a new direction for the team and everyone’s really excited about that.
All the players are getting right behind this and looking to increase their responsibility within the team.”
Foley said Hodgson was an acknowledged leader within the rugby community.
“Hodgo represents everything good in team sport,” he said. “He’s a selfless supporter, he’s someone who gives 100 per cent every week and he displays all the qualities we hope to build into the squad over the next year or so.”
Meanwhile, former Western Force assistant foundation coach John Mulvihill is set to return to the club.
The move comes just days after Michael Foley joined the Force as director of coaching from the NSW Waratahs for three years.
Mulvihill, currently coaching with Japanese club Mitsubishi Dynaboars, had originally applied for the top position.
He will also take responsibility for the backs, a position he held previously at the Force under John Mitchell.
Under him, the Force scored more tries than at any other time in its seven-year history.He has a long association with Foley going back to their playing days.