Super Rugby
Best 30 minutes in Force history: Matt Hodgson
ESPN Staff
March 9, 2014
Western Force captain Matt Hodgson capped his 100th appearance with a try © Getty Images

Thirty minutes doesn't make or break a season; but 30 minutes of rugby on Saturday has certainly created much-needed buzz around Western Force.

The Perth-based franchise looked set for a painful season after comprehensive defeats by New South Wales Waratahs and the Brumbies in their first two games, but tut they turned their form around in dramatic fashion to score four tries inside 27 minutes on the way to a 32-7 bonus-point win over Melbourne Rebels at nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

The result was just reward for skipper Matt Hodgson, the first Force player to notch 100 games for the club and a man who has witnessed plenty of lows during his nine years in Perth. But Hodgson is confident the Force are on their way to a bright future.

"I think that's the best 30 minutes we've played at the club in its entirety," Hodgson said. "There's a big light at the end of the tunnel. "You look at Zack Holmes, Kyle Godwin and Ian Prior - that could be the backline here for the next five to 10 years. And the impact we're getting off the bench and the people pushing for positions is incredible. I don't envy coach Michael Foley on Monday morning picking a side, because everyone's putting their hand up."

Western Force destroyed Melbourne Rebels in the first half (video available only in Australia)

Foley was thrilled with the response of his players after copping a heap of criticism during the week. But he said the challenge now was for the team to produce another hot effort against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

"One win doesn't make a season," Foley said. "Consistency is something we spoke about a lot during the pre-season. We have to go on the road and meet the Highlanders now ... we have to make sure we take the things we did against the Rebels and repeat them next week."

Force scrum-half Alby Mathewson was brilliant against the Rebels, while Hodgson, winger Luke Morahan and five-eighth Sias Ebersohn were also crucial in the win. Sam Wykes is expected to be fit to take on the Highlanders despite copping a heavy knock to the head against the Rebels, and Hugh McMeniman could play despite missing the win over the Rebels with a neck injury.

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