Gary uses the Force
By TONY WHITE firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTERN Force Super 14 player AJ Whalley proved a big hit in more ways then one when the powerhouse prop took the Grafton Redmen through their paces at Rugby Park, South Grafton, on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Even Redmen first grade coach Gary Powell was impressed with the 90-minute training sessions.
"It was a very good session," Powell said after Tuesday.
"AJ gave us all a good insight into what they do in Super 14s. I learned a lot, it was mainly the little things, different moves and techniques, new modern things they are doing now.
"He worked with our forwards, did a bit of lineout work showing us different things they use. The feedback from the players was positive. It's always good to hear different ideas.
"AJ worked with the whole club, it was especially good for the young fellas.
"I'm sure everyone benefitted."
Whalley, a former junior Wallaby, is back home in Grafton for a week before returning to Perth on Friday to prepare for the Force's four-game tour to South Africa in June.
Whalley had the cast removed from his injured thumb last week and expects to play his first game back in South Africa since suffering the injury in a club for Cottesloe in early April.
"It was a good session," Whalley said. "I really enjoyed it.
"I did some specialty stuff with first grade then they went off for some fitness work and I worked with the rest of the club.
"We did things around the break down and clean out area, technical aspects of rucking. Also stealing the ball, just different ways of doing things."
Whalley hadn't been to Rugby Park since the major ground alterations took place last year.
"I hadn't seen the club house, it looks good," Whalley said.
"It seems like everything is going forward with the club. Obviously there are a lot of new faces, but the atmosphere is still good."
Powell said there was great anticipation ahead of Saturday's top of the table clash with the Yamba Buccaneers but he is trying to prepare much the same as other competition games.
"The feeling's really good in the club but Saturday is just another game and we're not going to get carried away," he said. "We know Yamba will come at us hard but it's the same for us as last week against Wollongbar.
"Everything's going along nicely at the moment."