The West

New Force boss seeks better ARU deal
Mark Sinderberry. Pic: Elise Goodin, Rugby WA.

Western Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry will seek early answers from the Australian Rugby Union when he takes control of the Super Rugby club.

Top of his agenda is the reinstatement of the club's senior academy after $200,000 in funding was slashed by the ARU's then chief executive John O'Neill two years ago.

Sinderberry also wants to discuss the re-establishment of the third-tier competition.

"Australian rugby is in an interesting period," he said yesterday during a brief visit to Perth, before taking up the post in March.

"There are some decisions that have been taken in the last couple of years that are not in the interest of the long-term development of the game in this country.

"We will be pushing very hard to get those matters corrected."

Sinderberry is confident that under the ARU's new leadership of chairman Michael Hawker and chief executive Bill Pulver, he will not face the ongoing battle his predecessor Vern Reid had with O'Neill in his three-year tenure.

"I don't think we will have to fight too hard because there has certainly been a willingness to revisit those issues," Sinderberry said.

The Force's senior management has undergone significant change, with the appointment of new coaches and an overhaul of the squad providing Sinderberry with "great confidence".

He has already tasted success in rugby. He was the Brumbies' inaugural chief executive and in his seven years in Canberra, the club made the Super Rugby finals five times and won the 2001 title.

In 2003, he was recruited by English Premiership club Sara- cens, who then made four semifinal appearances. Sinderberry oversaw the sale of the club to private South African investors.

"I'm really comfortable about the changes that have been made. They have put us (Force) in a really good position to start heading towards the success we all believe is possible," Sinderberry said.

"Some building blocks are in place and changes have been put in place that give me a great confidence in the desire of the organisation to move forward.

"We're about building an organisation and I'm looking for improvement from week to week, (then) you start to get a feel about what success looks like.

"This team is going to show a lot of character.

"I'm very confident that character will come out in spades. I'm quite comfortable the results will take care of themselves."

RugbyWA chairman Russel Perry said his board had loosened the purse strings for recruitment in the so-called Force "relaunch" despite last season being the club's worst.

"The finances are tight and that's a direct result of a poor season," Perry said.

"We've taken the approach that you need to invest in the success."

The West Australian

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