Western Force Coach Richard Graham has moved to bolster the club’s Super Rugby backs by offering a short term deal to Queensland fly half Matt Brandon.
The 24 year-old arrived in Perth on Tuesday morning and trained that afternoon.
Brandon will have a few more opportunities to familiarise himself with the game plan on Thursday and also the captain’s run the following day before suiting up on the bench against the Blues on Saturday night.
Brandon has been bought on a four-week deal after an elbow injury to Mitch Inman and Rory Sidey’s suspension in last weekend’s clash with the Sharks left Graham short of numbers across the backs. A total of seven players in that area are unavailable.
While the club’s starters still boast the quality of James O’Connor, Cameron Shepherd, Gene Fairbanks and David Smith, Graham said there was a need to add further back-up.
“With a relatively small squad size of 36, including four academy players, the seven injuries have put pressure on our backline playing stocks and left us with relatively little room to manoeuvre,” Graham said.
“Matt has played in some good quality competitions including the Magners League and in Japan and will bring those experiences with him to the Western Force.”
Brandon has taken his rugby across the globe, plying his trade in Ireland for Connacht before teaming up with former Force star Scott Staniforth at Yokogawa in the Japanese competition.
He returned to Australia last year and most recently stepped out for the Reds’ 2nd XV in matches against international opponents including Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
“It was a nice surprise to get the call from Richard. It has all happened really quickly but I’m thankful and grateful to be given an opportunity at the club,” Brandon said.
“It has always been my goal to play in Super Rugby and I’m looking forward to the opportunity of learning from the coaching staff and players assembled here and also contributing something of my own.”
While Brandon has initially been retained on a short-term injury replacement contract, he needn’t look any further than current Western Force squad members Nathan Charles and Jono Jenkins, both of whom received their starts at the club in the same fashion last season before going on to be rewarded with longer terms deals.
“There is definitely a pathway that other players have taken which gives me confidence in the programme,” Brandon said.
“I hope to press my case for a longer contract and will be doing everything I can to help the club in the next month.”
by Buford Balony