Western Force re-sign young duo

Date published: October 7 2015

The Western Force have re-signed local products Kane Koteka and Brady Lacey for the 2016 Life Super Rugby season.

The duo, both 21, were involved with the Western Australian-based outfit in 2015, and will return as part of the Force's Extended Playing Squad (EPS) in 2016.

After starting last season in the Future Force academy programme, Kane Koteka earned his Super Rugby debut off the bench against the Hurricanes in Round Three in the absence of injured skipper Matt Hodgson. 

The mobile openside flanker made the most of his opportunity, going on to earn a further nine caps in his maiden season in the competition.

The Perth-born, former Western Australian age group representative and Perth Spirit back-rower says he's keen to continue his push for further caps in 2016.

"I'm really stoked to be back again for next season," he told the Western Force's official website

"Since I was a boy, all I've wanted to do is play for the Force. I've been in the Academy since I was in the Under 14's and we were always looking up to the Force players; to be a player that other young players might look up to now is very humbling.

"Being a part of the Future Force this year was fantastic for me and helped me reach that goal of playing for the Force, and I'm very grateful to everyone who's helped me to get to this point.

"Last year was amazing. The main thing was proving myself to the boys and fortunately I went well enough and I was just stoked to get that opportunity. I was a bit star-struck initially but I'm hoping to be able to improve on those performances next year."

Winger Brad Lacey renews his EPS contract for next season after being a member of the senior squad this year.

The Australian U20 representative was denied his Super Rugby debut last season when he suffered a quad strain in the final training session after being selected for his would-be maiden appearance against the Highlanders.

Lacey has been a regular fixture on the wing for the Perth Spirit in the National Rugby Championship, crossing for three tries for the Spirit in 2015.

Lacey is determined to press for his elusive Super Rugby debut next season.

"It's a new challenge for me this year and important that I'm continuing to develop and pushing harder for a spot in that match day squad," he said.

"I was in the crowd for the Force's first-ever home win and I've wanted to play for the Force for as long as I can remember.

"It was a hollow feeling to have that opportunity ripped away from me by injury last season but it's only motivated me more to get back there again.

"I learned a lot last season. 

"When you've got experienced players around you like Dane Haylett-Petty, Marcel [Brache] and Luke Morahan, who are so willing to help, let you know what you can do better and give you that encouragement, it urges you on to keep playing and performing better."

Western Force head coach Michael Foley said the pair are part of the next generation of Western Force players.

"Brad and Kane are both products of our local pathway system, who have benefitted from the development our junior clubs and [Junior Elite Coach] Dwayne Nestor have provided," he explained.

"Kane is a tough back-rower, who made the most of his opportunities this season, while Brad has worked hard to develop his skills and consistency through this year's NRC campaign."