Giteau commits future to Force
January 4, 2009
Giteau's playing future has been the subject of intense media speculation over recent months © Getty Images
The Western Force have confirmed that fly-half Matt Giteau will remain with the side for the 2009 Super 14 season.
A club source confirmed to AAP that the Wallabies' star will be back in training with the club on Janaury 12 - ending months of speculation regarding his playing future.
Reports had linked the 26-year-old with a move back to the Canberra-based ACT Brumbies as a result of the collapse of a lucrative third-party sponsorship deal with failed fuel company Firepower. The talented No.10 was also the subject of a lucrative bid from French club Bayonne who hoped to lure him overseas.
However, the Brumbies admitted defeat in their attempts to re-sign Giteau last month and Giteau subsequently wrote in his newspaper column for the Perth-based Sunday Times, "I can say now that I'm committed to the Force for next year and I won't be making a decision on my future until next season is over. I never tried to get out of my contract legally because things get ugly when you start doing that and I didn't want to go there.
"There was nothing personal about it, I just wanted to see this year out first," Giteau wrote. "Everyone knows you have a short life span in sport and have to make the most of your opportunities, but my decision wasn't just about the money.
"I have been happy and I've enjoyed the two years at the Force and making a decision in the future will be difficult because I know I can still enjoy it in Perth. But as I said, before I decide anything I want to honour my contract."
But the future of Force coach John Mitchell remains unclear after he was placed on restricted duties pending an independent inquiry into complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards employees. Retired West Australian Supreme Court Judge Robert Anderson QC is investigating the matter and is expected to deliver his report in mid-January.
Assistant coach John Mulvihill will take charge of all training sessions until then with Mitchell to have limited contact with his players.
Last month, Mitchell has defended his frank and potentially divisive leadership style, and also commited himself to the team and players, although he has admitted that certain training methods may have to be reassessed.
"I have always had an honest and open relationship with the players, and nothing will change. Having said that, as a head coach you have always got to look to evolve, and I am always looking to evolve. I am contracted until June 2011, and I am totally committed to that contract - I will be meeting my obligations."
Mitchell has been in charge of Force since thier inception in 2006, and is currently on a four-year contract. The Force kick off their 2009 Super 14 preparations with a warm-up clash against the Crusaders in Perth on January 23.
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league