Fields to Force: WA Grown Talent Highlighted in Western Force’s Round 1 Squad

Thu, Feb 22, 2024, 5:09 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

Super Rugby Pacific kicks off this week, with Western Force taking on the Hurricanes at HBF Park on Friday at 7pm. 

In the first game of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, Western Australia is well represented with a number of players who got their start in local clubs being named in the Round 1 squad.  


Marley Pearce and Ollie Callan both began their rugby careers in RugbyWA’s local competitions, before graduating into the professional game. 

Pearce, who debuted last season at 19, got his start playing for Joondalup Brothers in under 6s, before working his way up and into the Western Force Fortescue Academy.  

“I was really lucky,” Pearce said about his journey to playing Super Rugby. 

“I came all the way through Juniors with Joondalup Brothers, played in the regional competition growing up, and then went through to state teams and into the Western Force Fortescue Academy. 

“I was lucky to train with the top squad last year, and then made the jump fulltime into the Western Force.” 

For Pearce, representing Western Australia in the Force is a privilege. 

“It’s awesome, it means everything,” he said. 

“I used to be in the Academy, same position as a lot of boys and girls today, so being able to represent WA, it’s everything.” 


Ollie Callan, a flanker, made his debut for the Western Force in 2020. Before his time in the Force, however, Callan played for Wanneroo Rugby Club before he made his way into the RugbyWA Senior Academy. 

The path to professional rugby was always there, Callan said, especially during his time in the local leagues. 

“Coming up through Wanneroo, there was always a pathway there, through RugbyWA and their academy, and the Future Force Foundation (now the Rugby Foundation of Western Australia). 

“It’s good to see there is a pathway. If you stick at it, and put everything into rugby, there is a way to get into super rugby, so you aren’t just playing for the sake of it.  

“If that’s the path you want to take, there is one there.” 


For both Pearce and Callan, having visible representations of the journey to professional rugby is important.  

“It gives direction,” Pearce reflected. “I remember looking up to the Force boys as I was coming through, wanting to be them, and loved watching them play. It gives young players a bit of direction.” 

Callan recalled looking up to Western Force players when he was playing as a junior.  

“I was talking to Ian Prior, saying that I was 11 or 12 watching him play for the Force,” he said. 

“People like Chris Heiberg, Heath Tessmann, they were running around – then in my first year, I was playing with them. 

“It was pretty cool, to see the guys I was watching as a kid, and then coming in and playing with them.” 


RugbyWA’s General Manager of Rugby and the Head of RugbyWA’s Academy, Dane Lazarus, says that having players like Pearce and Callan within the Super Rugby space is important for kids within in Western Australia’s local clubs. 

“Players like Ollie Callan and Marley Pearce, who have been through the pathway programs in WA, help future players realise it is possible to be from Western Australia and to become a professional rugby player. 

“We work hard at integrating players into pathways such as academy programs, and having current players be visible to these young athletes helps them on their journey and gives them something to aspire to. 

“We want all our players to be trailblazers and to show the talent of WA by setting new standards with every opportunity that comes their way.” 


As for advice Pearce and Callan would give to players currently in the junior grades, looking to make their way into the professional game – just have fun. 

“Enjoy it,” Callan said. “Rugby’s fun with your mates, so the most important thing is to enjoy it. When you’re enjoying it, you’re playing good footy.” 

“Play your game, play footy, have fun,” Pearce said. “Just enjoy it.” 


Tickets are still available for Western Force’s match against the Hurricanes via Ticketmaster.  

To find a local club and become the next Marley Pearce or Ollie Callan, visit or contact