Captain Matt Hodgson will continue his career with Western Force after extending his contract through to the end of the 2016 season.
The evergreen back-rower, who is currently sidelined as he returns from a hamstring injury, remains the most-capped player in the club’s history (113 matches) having made his Super Rugby debut for the Force against the Brumbies in the club’s inaugural match in 2006.
Hodgson, who along with Pek Cowan remain the only current foundation players, claimed his third Nathan Sharpe Medal for the Force’s player of the year in 2014, and returned to the Wallabies squad where he captained the national side in their 40-36 win over the Barbarians in London.
The 33-year-old says he’s excited at the prospect of remaining a ‘one club’ player.
“Despite being injured, the body feels great, my mind feels fresh and I’m excited about finishing what we’ve started in the last couple of years,” he said.
“To be able to keep the majority of the team together is a goal we’ve had and we’ve got the players and the depth to go forward in the competition.
“I started at the club in 2005 and I still don’t feel like I’ve achieved what I’ve set out to do which is to win through the second half of the competition and play finals rugby.
“Last year gave us a taste of what can be achieved and while we’ve had a challenging start to this season, there’s still a lot of potential within the group and the opportunity to finish the season strongly.
“With the added responsibility of the leadership role, I feel like I’ve been challenged again and it’s something I’m excited about. I’m really enjoying my rugby and as long as that’s the case, I’ll continue to play.
“I’m enjoying being pushed by some of the younger players and the back row is proving a tough area to crack. I’m really enjoying passing on what I know to the younger blokes, particularly someone like Kane [Koteka]. Seeing players like him come through club rugby and into Super Rugby is really exciting and I’m keen to pass on what I know and what’s been passed on to me, to help them in their career.”
Western Force head coach Michael Foley says Hodgson continues to be at the heart of the club.
“In his performances as a player and leader, Hodgo’s demonstrated unconditional commitment to the club over the past 10 years,” he said.
“’Earning respect’ is the core value of our team, and Matt epitomises that in the way he plays, the way he deals with his teammates and our supporters, and in his determination to do whatever’s required to see the club succeed.
“Matt’s maintained a high level of performance over a long period of time, culminating in a personal best season last year and I’m wrapped to know that he’s staying with us as a player and leader for another season.”