The West

Force must do without Madness
Force must do without Madness

The stunning 18-15 Western Force ambush of reigning champions Chiefs has been soured by the loss of tough Wallabies back-rower Hugh McMeniman for several weeks after breaking his left collarbone.

There was better news for the resurgent club with feisty scrum-half Alby Mathewson available for the clash with the Queensland Reds in two weeks after receiving a one-game ban for stamping.

Prop Kieran Longbottom has been cleared of serious injury after being carried from nib Stadium on a stretcher on Saturday night with a neck injury.

McMeniman was injured in the 30th minute of the shock win but played out the rest of the first half on "one shoulder", according to coach Michael Foley.

The man they call Madness had returned from a neck injury sustained in round two against the Brumbies and had major shoulder surgery in the pre-season.

Mathewson was cited by the game commissioner for stomping Chiefs back-rower Sam Cane in the third minute of the match.

The suspension will be served this weekend as the Force have a bye and players will be available for local clubs.

Longbottom was hit by a knee late in the second half but the 16,400 crowd was relieved when he gave the thumbs up as he was taken off the ground.

The Force are equal sixth with the Bulls and only points difference out of a finals berth after earning three straight wins for the second time in their history.

The shell-shocked Chiefs were kept try-less in Australia for the first time since 2001.

The Force are thriving under Foley and captain Matt Hodgson, who crossed for two tries.

They refused to be dominated by the bigger and star-studded Chiefs and did not allow them to dictate the pace of the game. Their own intensity showed how far they have come in the last three games.

Foley said his players now had belief in themselves.

"Last year we had a lot of good performances but couldn't quite close things out," he said.

"Now they can get to the point in the game where they can finish over the top of opposition."

The Chiefs made errors because of Force pressure and coach Dave Rennie couldn't believe his side led 9-8 at the break.

"They did a pretty good job on us," he said. "They've got a lot of character."

"They did a pretty good job on us. They've got a lot of character.""Chiefs coach *Dave Rennie *

The West Australian

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