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Force make a stand to honour Sharpe
Force make a stand to honour Sharpe

A campaign has been launched to name the new grandstand at nib Stadium after Western Force and Wallabies legend Nathan Sharpe.

Sharpe was the Force’s ever-present leader since foundation, captain for six years and the public face of the club before his retirement last season.

The club’s inaugural captain is international rugby’s most capped second-rower and the second-highest capped Wallaby with 116 Test appearances in 16 years at the highest level.

He has played more Super Rugby games than any other player in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa with 92 appearances for the Force following his 70 caps for the Queensland Reds. He played more matches as captain than any other in the competition.

He has twice won Australian Rugby’s top award, the John Eales Medal.

The campaign for The Nathan Sharpe Stand has been launched by Force fan club The Whole Force which has opened an online petition on its website.

The Whole Force founder Darren Thompson said it would be fitting to have the new stand, which will be opened for the first Force home game in March, named after Sharpe.

“Nathan Sharpe is a legendary figure and true statesman in rugby union both here at the Western Force and on the international stage with the Wallabies,” Thompson said.

“We feel it is fitting that the new grandstand, built on the back of the success of rugby union, be named after Nathan, honouring a man who has done so much for the game.

“Nathan embodies all that is good about the game. It would pay homage to him as well as honour the game and the stadium.”

Force chief executive Vern Reid said the club was firmly behind the idea.

“This is a great initiative by The Whole Force and something that RugbyWA enthusiastically supports,” he said.

“Nathan Sharpe is one of the world’s most recognised rugby players.

"As the Western Force's inaugural captain and our most capped player it would be fitting for him to be recognised by having the eastern grandstand named after him."

The stadium is owned by the State Government through VenuesWest , who would have final approval over naming rights.

VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge said he would be happy to receive any suggestions and any decision would be made in conjunction with Allia, the venue management company which runs the Stadium.

Allia can also sell commercial naming rights to the new eastern stand with the net profit divided between the Force and Perth Glory.

The western stand is named the F.D Book Stand after Frederick Book, a former East Perth Football Club president and a function room at the stadium is named after Gareth Naven, who captained Perth Glory for six years.

The petition can be found at http://twf.com.au/petition.php.