Western Force win race for Giteau
Sunday April 23 2006Wallaby star celebrates but ARU are uneasy about the size of the deal
Brumbies and Australia centre Matt Giteau has agreed to move to the Western Force in a multi-million dollar deal that will make him the highest paid footballer of any code in Australian history.
Money Man: Drinks are on Giteau
The 23-year-old will join the Perth-based franchise in 2007 on a three-year deal said to be worth around AUS$4.5 million (US$3.35m).
The signing is a major coup for the Force as Giteau is regarded as one of the world's best playmakers and all four of Australia's Super 14 franchises had made lucrative offers.
The Force may be struggling in their inaugural season but Giteau believes everything is in place for the new franchise to establish themselves in the competition.
"They have never been far off the pace and I want to be there when their luck changes and it all starts to take shape because it will be a very exciting time in the club's history," said Giteau, who has played 31 Tests for the Wallabies.
"When I was in Perth for the Brumbies game in February, I was surprised by the strong rugby following there.
"I've also spoken to Matt [Henjak] a fair bit and he tells me the lifestyle, the beaches, the weather, not to mention the rugby programme and training facilities are pretty special."
Giteau confirmed he would be staying at his preferred inside-centre position and did not think a move to a team without a win in its brief history would affect his international chances.
"As long as I'm playing [good] football, then hopefully I'll be picked," he said.
"If I'm not playing good football, then I don't get picked. That's just the way it is."
Giteau, who is currently out injured with a niggling knee problem he sustained at the Commonwealth Games, is hopeful that his decision to move to Perth will prompt other big names to follow suit.
"I'm not sure exactly who they're after ... but if I can attract some great players like Ryan Cross and players like that, of his calibre, I think that could be great for the Force," he said.
Force coach John Mitchell is confident Giteau will be a successful signing and insists there are more reinforcements to come.
"Matt can create something from nothing and will always ask the hard questions of his opposition," he said.
"He has great awareness of what's in front of him and is just the type of person we want to bring into our player mix.
"We will not give up on our vision of building a player mix which will see us contest the finals."