Foley, Mathewson lap up Forced move west
Former NSW coach Michael Foley isn't the only one revelling in his switch to a new "supportive" Super Rugby organisation at the Western Force.
Former All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson has also lapped up his move to Perth, following a year to forget for the Blues in Auckland, and highlighted his value as a marquee signing with a standout display against Queensland on Saturday night.
Recruited by Foley, the speedy Kiwi provided the desperate Force's attacking flair and X-factor in a breakthrough 19-12 triumph over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.
It was their first win ever in Brisbane, first victory this season and Foley's first success after 11 straight defeats dating back to last year.
But the coach has already consigned his nightmare season as Waratahs head coach to history.
"Mate, I've drawn a line under last year a long time ago," Foley said. "The journey I'm on now is with this team and I'm loving every minute of it.
"I've loved it from the first day. We have an incredibly hard-working playing group who are developing all the time and we have an amazingly supportive organisation which is not something that can be taken for granted."
Foley didn't mention the Waratahs by name in the after-glow of the Suncorp Stadium success but twice hailed the support and unity the Force boasts in what could only be seen as a veiled comparison.
He praised the character of his players to respond to the demoralising round two loss to the fledgling Kings, which had many experts tipping a wooden-spoon finish.
"This is an organisation that has been under immense pressure for an extended period and yet they have hung tough and they have rode through it," Foley said.
Ironically, it was Foley's time at the Waratahs which led to the recruitment of Mathewson, who carved up NSW for the Blues in the 2011 elimination final at Eden Park.
"He was an absolutely critical player for them that year," he said.
But when former Hurricanes teammate Piri Weepu followed Mathewson to Auckland last year, the four-Test All Black was pushed out at No.9 despite Weepu being recruited to play five-eighth.
"I'm not trying to bag the Blues but promises were made and not kept," Mathewson told AAP.
New Blues coach John Kirwan intended trialling both Weepu and Mathewson at halfback this year but a decreased contract offer convinced the 27-year-old he'd have more game time at the Force.
"The toughest thing for me was not being eligible for the All Blacks," he said.
"But then again, being stuck at No.2 you are always going to be in trouble.
"(Kirwan) wanted me to stay and said he couldn't really separate us.
"But the contract they offered me compared to what they had been paying me was a kick in the guts."
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