INDEMAND: Former Grafton rugby star A J Whalley is banking on the expanded Super 14 competition next year to generate opportun
INDEMAND: Former Grafton rugby star A J Whalley is banking on the expanded Super 14 competition next year to generate opportun

SUPER 14 ME

By TONY WHITE

PERTH-based Western Force's entry into the Super 12 arena next year has the potential to open up doors for Grafton-born rugby star, AJ Whalley.

Whalley, currently playing first grade with Warringah and a junior Waratah, has already been approached by the new outfit.

"They have made contact with my manager Stewart Hanrahan," Whalley said.

"Obviously they are targeting the big guns, build a team around them, but with people going over to Perth it creates opportunities elsewhere.

"I'm definitely on the hunt. It opens up opportunities to maybe pick up a Super 12 or rookie contract."

The 22-year-old, 110kg, 186cm juggernaut is already earmarked by Australian rugby officials as a future Wallaby.

His move from the back row to prop last year was aimed specifically at eventually gaining Wallaby selection.

With Waratah loose head prop Gareth Hardy and hooker Brendan Cannon major signings for Perth, further opportunities arise for Whalley and players of his ilk.

Whalley is currently contracted to Warringah until October and this season he has played several games with NSW As junior Waratahs and for NSW Country.

He is currently on the verge of selection in the senior Waratahs squad.

"I'm hoping all this (the new Super 12 team) works in my favour," Whalley said.

"Each State is allowed 33 contracted Super 12 players.

"What's probably going to happen now is NSW, Queensland and the ACT will sit back and have a good look at the Tooheys New Cup and see who they want to pick up.

"All the Super 12 coaches will be watching. This is all about timing, playing well at the right time.

"All I can concentrate on is playing well and hopefully things happen from there.

"I'm playing tight head at the moment and every week my form is improving. I'm learning so much each game.

"And I'm really enjoying my rugby especially with Warringah. It makes a big difference when your winning.

"We've got a young side that we've built for the past couple of years and everything is finally starting to happen.

"It's going good but hopefully the best is yet to come."

Whalley believes Warringah 'have a good chance' of winning the Tooheys New Cup which starts at the end of September when Super 12 players and the Wallabys rejoin their Sydney clubs.

A strong performance before Super 12 coaches and rugby hierachy will considerably enhance Whalley's chances of a move up the ranks and onto the international stage.



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