Western Force captain Matt Hodgson has revealed the players’ new motto for 2014: “Win together, lose together."
In past years the side was fractured by internal disquiet and big earning stars departed but Hodgson, who has been with the Super Rugby club for nine years, said there were noticeable changes this season.
The club has 12 new senior players this year including a handful of South African recruits.
“Since being here since 2005 I’ve seen a lot of stars come over but this is the best feeling amongst the team we’ve had in a long time,” Hodgson said.
“We’ve had new guys come in but it feels like they’ve been here a long time.
“Not one person is going to win you the game, it’s the whole outfit, not only the 22 that get picked each week but the whole squad that needs to turn up from Monday to Friday."
Hodgson believes 2014 could be the club’s best season since 2008 when it finished eighth.
“It’s definitely achievable,” he said.
“I’m a lot more confident than last year. The new faces have fitted in nicely and formed a good bond.”
He said coach Michael Foley, now in his second year, had brought confidence to the side.
“Has been great, he has instilled a lot of confidence in the players, especially the young playing group we’ve got,” Hodgson said.
“Not only to know we can go out there and win but also to come up with plays and have our own thinking about the game. The players have ownership of that.”
The Force finish their pre-season trials with a double-header against Samoa A and the Argentina Pampas side at nib Stadium on Friday.
The Force crushed Samoa A 69-3 in their first warm-up match last week.
“We don’t know a lot about the Pampas side, we know they have 19 internationals, they will be tough, strong around the scrum and set piece,” Hodgson said.
“We’re looking forward to the battle and adjusting to the new laws, getting another solid 80 minutes under our belt.”