Western Force Fortescue Academy squad confirmed for 2024

Tue, Feb 20, 2024, 3:55 AM
by Ben Somerford

The Western Force today announces the 26 players selected for the 2024 Fortescue Academy including a dozen homegrown players.

General Manager of Academy Chris Goodman was delighted with the mix in the group and the quality of talent on offer with a view to becoming Force Super Rugby players in years to come.

“We’re thrilled to have a near 50-50 mix of local talent and those recruited from elsewhere, both the eastern states and overseas,” Goodman said.

“As a rule, we always want to fish in our own pond first, so it’s been fantastic to retain the best local talent.

“But it’s also been encouraging and exciting to start attracting the best talent from other programs for positions of need within the Force set-up. We’ve now got the resources and program to attract those players.

“That mix of talent is exciting for the Force, especially with the group coming through together, developing combinations and learning our way of playing together. That bodes well for the long-term future of the Club.”

Among the 26-member squad are 12 local players; Kauri Grace (Wests Scarborough), Caleb Karangaroa (Wanneroo), Justin Landman (Associates), Jhy Legg (Wests Scarborough), Ryan McGloin (Joondalup), Oakley Pearce (Joondalup) Dane Sawers (Kalamunda), Max Sawers (Kalamunda), Manaia TeTana (Wanneroo), Cristiano Tizzano (UWA), Tiam Toufan (UWA), Billy Turnbull (Cottesloe).

Six months ago, Joondalup Brothers prop Marley Pearce graduated out of the Academy into a full Force contract having had a breakthrough 2023 Super Rugby season following his debut. George Poolman and Siosifa Amone are other recent Fortescue Academy graduates.

Wing Ronan Leahy has had recent opportunities with the Force’s Super Rugby side, scoring tries in both of the Club’s pre-season trial games, having travelled to South Africa for the Toyota Challenge.

Goodman added: “Led by Simon Cron and his coaching staff, it’s been fantastic to see genuine connection between the Super Rugby squad and our Academy squad.

“There have been opportunities to train together and be exposed to the coaches, as Ronan’s example shows. It shows a unified Club pulling in one direction.”

2024 Fortescue Academy Squad

Albert Alcock, Lipina Ata, Billy Browne, Boston Fakafanua, Kauri Grace, Henry James, Caleb Karangaroa, Justin Landman, Ronan Leahy, Jhy Legg, Ollie McGinnity, Ryan McGloin, Oakley Pearce, AJ Preketes, Doug Phillipson, Finn Prass, Wilton Rebolo, Dane Sawers, Max Sawers, HD Stemmet, Manaia TeTana, Cristiano Tizzano, Tiam Toufan, Billy Turnbull, Mitch Watts, Angus Websdale