WA rugby thriving: Force chief

Nick Taylor
Al Rovira of the Perth Spirit takes on the Brisbane defence. Pic: Getty Images

Western Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry is confident the National Rugby Championship will continue to grow and become a breeding ground for future Super Rugby players.

Perth Spirit lost Saturday's inaugural NRC grand final 37-26 to Brisbane City at Ballymore but Sinderberry said the campaign would have a positive flow-on for the Force.

Almost half of the 42 players used by the Spirit came from the ranks of the Perth competition exposing them to a higher standard of rugby without having to travel to Eastern States clubs.

"The competition will go from strength to strength, I am very confident about that," Sinderberry said.

"It has been very beneficial, it has served its purpose.

"Seeing local players play alongside the fully professional players has been an excellent outcome.

"The other benefit is for those fringe players from Super Rugby who get limited time on the pitch. They have played a lot of rugby and really developed and that will help us enormously going forward.

"It has shown where the gaps and strengths of rugby are and there's a lot to review.

"It is always disappointing to lose a final but you can never questions players efforts and what the coaches have done."

Sinderberry said the Spirit making the final was a reflection of the game growing in WA.

It followed the best ever season for the Force who narrowly missed a maiden Super Rugby finals, the state under-20 side going undefeated in the Southern States competition with four players selected for the Australian Junior World Cup squad and the WA under-17s winning the national Junior Gold Cup.

Sinderberry said there was plenty to be done and the organisation could not afford to sit back on its heels.

“We still have work to do across the board to realise the sustained success that we’re after, however, these milestones demonstrate that we are certainly heading in the right direction," he said.

"Success like this does not happen by coincidence and it doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes to make these a reality."

Spirit coach Kevin Foote said the side was disappointed with the final loss.

"It was certainly one of our more disappointing performances but full credit to Brisbane City they strangled us out of the game and we just couldn’t get any momentum," he said.

"To get to the final was a huge achievement and we’ve got a super bunch of guys here so it’s just onwards and upwards.

"We had some glimpses of really good play in that first half and I think we should have scored just before half time but the boys were calm in the sheds and knew where we needed to lift.

"Unfortunately we just didn’t get enough of the ball and tried to play catch-up rugby."