After a dismal first fortnight to the new season for the Western Force, they knew a big result was needed to help give themselves a belated kickstart to the year, and that is exactly what they did after defeating the Melbourne Rebels 32-7 in Perth on Saturday night.
Both teams had polar opposite starts to the season, with the Force succumbing to 22 and 13 point margin losses in the first and second weeks respectively, while the Rebels had a 21 point bonus-point win against the Cheetahs in their first match.
The results were reversed when the Force managed to score four huge tries inside the first half hour of the game. The first was scored by Alby Matthewson in the second minute after a dummy opened up a gap in the Rebels defence and he was able to stroll on through for the first score. Luke Morahan exposed the Rebels open wing to score easily in the 9th minute, while Matt Hodgson and Angus Cottrell scored two magnificent tries within two minutes of each other in the 24th and 26th minutes. Telusa Veainu scored a consolation try in the last play of the game to help the Rebels avoid a shutout.
The match was vastly one-sided with the Rebels turning the ball over and making poor decisions regularly. Melbourne just simply weren't in the game for the majority of the duration, and there was close to no enthusiasm amongst the players, unlike what we saw against the Cheetahs. The Force dominated most aspects of the match and took on the game head-on, winning most rucks and mauls, being smart and the lineout and defending well against the Rebels few dangerous attacks. Hayward, Morahan and Cummins were all fantastic across the backline, while Godwin worked tirelessly at centre and captain Matt Hodgson celebrated his 100th match for the Force with consistent play throughout the game, with a try to top things off.
Some may accuse Tony McGahan for taking the Force too lightly as there was a significant lack of intent in this match from the Rebels, coupled with the fact that they had made six changes to the line-up from last week. Don't be surprised to see Bryce Hegarty and Tom English brought back into the squad next week, while Scott Fuglistaller may be swapped for Sean McMahon on the flank.
FT: Western Force 32 def. Melbourne Rebels 7
Force: Matthewson, Morahan, Hodgson, Cottrell
It was a disappointing second game for the Melbourne Rebels. What needs to be changed ahead of next weeks encounter with the Crusaders?