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Measured duo make their mark at Force
Michael Foley. Pic: Getty Images

When Michael Foley took charge of the Western Force he inherited an underperforming team with no instant remedy available.

The push of a button would not produce the new culture needed overnight.

Now into his second season as coach, Foley is still managing a work in progress, but this is a different club from when he and chief executive Mark Sinderberry took charge.

While there have been necessary changes, Foley said he would not reshape the entire franchise.

"Do that continually and you throw the baby out with the bath water," he said.

"I had an idea of where I thought the team was at, I thought we had the right core of guys. Skills are very important, so is attitude.

"It is getting players to realise what they are capable of and there is a clear idea of the challenges we have to pose ourselves.

"There is a clear understanding among the boys that what teams can do and what teams will do are sometimes very different.

"We have a belief in what we are capable of. We want to narrow the gap. We don't want to walk away from the season saying we knew we could do these things but were a long way off it.

"I'm very excited about this year knowing full well that in any footy season or at any stage of life there are learnings. Some of them are painful but some of our most painful learnings from last year have stood us in good stead."

Foley and Sinderberry were prepared for setbacks and also had to balance the books.

Last year the board loosened the financial reins, but the club lost its $1 million a year naming rights sponsor Emirates.

Sinderberry also chose a different path when looking for a new generation of players.

He refused to get out the cheque book and go hunting for big names. Neither he nor Foley were prepared to pay over the top for players not up to standard, just because they were Australian.

Instead they looked to South Africa as the Australian Rugby Union opened up the Force's quota of overseas players.

Foley said the club would welcome the right sort of player wherever they came from but they had to buy into the club culture and principles.

Thirteen players used last year are no longer at the club and Foley said that while turnover was a fact of sporting life he was determined to bring stability to a club that has regularly lost a third of its squad each year.

"The volume of turnover is always going to be unavoidable when you are looking to take the team forward, but we've brought players in that will allow us to stabilise the squad," he said.