Force unsettled ahead of ARU takeover
Perth - Western Force scrumhalf Alby Mathewson has admitted
that the Perth outfit's players are unsettled ahead of the imminent Australian
Rugby Union takeover, especially players who are nearing the end of their
The ARU is set to take over responsibility for the running
of the Force, who are experiencing serious financial problems. The aim is to
turn around the franchise's financial woes and ARU chief executive Bill Pulver
headed to Perth earlier this week to sort out some of the final details and an
agreement is expected to be signed off by next week.
Under the new deal, the Force football programme will not be
touched but senior administrators like chief executive Mark Sinderberry will
report to the ARU.
Mathewson is one of several Force players whose contracts
end when the season finishes, and the former All Black said it was unsettling
to be in the dark about the dealings between the ARU and the franchise.
Force head coach Michael Foley is contracted until the end
of next season but there are doubts over his future too as the team has won
just twice from11 matches this season.
"I know there's a few boys off contract, and it effects
everyone differently," Mathewson told AAP.
"The ARU talked to us a couple of days ago. Bill Pulver
was over here trying to shed some light on the situation.
"Hopefully in the next week or so there's a lot more
clarity, because there's quite a few other players wondering what's going on
with that sort of stuff."
Mathewson's situation is more unique than that of his
team-mates. He joined the Force as their international marquee signing, which
meant he could only stay for a maximum of two years.
The ARU granted the 30-year-old special permission to extend
his deal by a further two years in 2014, and he is hopeful the same situation
will occur again.
"I've been here for four years now, so I'm pretty
settled," added Mathewson.
"But I understand the way rugby works with contracts
and moving around. So I'll just have to wait and see."