Former Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman backs Western Force in fight for survival

HOMETOWN HERO: Coleman asked the Brumbies for a release from the final year of his Canberra contract to join the Force for a fresh start after a decade in the system. Photo: Rohan Thomson

HOMETOWN HERO: Coleman asked the Brumbies for a release from the final year of his Canberra contract to join the Force for a fresh start after a decade in the system. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Queanbeyan junior Robbie Coleman has slammed the ARU's decision to put the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels in a battle to the death, urging them to put players first as the Super Rugby axe hovers.

But the former ACT Brumbies flyer says he has no regrets about shifting his career to Perth at the end of last year, revealing he has bought shares in the "Own the Force' campaign as it fights for its future.

The Super Rugby saga is set to drag on after the Force and Rebels threatened legal action against the ARU as powerbrokers decide which of the two will be exiled from the competition.

Coleman passionately defended the Force on Tuesday and said kicking the club out of Super Rugby would kill the game in Western Australia.

Coleman asked the Brumbies for a release from the final year of his Canberra contract to join the Force for a fresh start after a decade in the system.

"And I don't regret it at all. I loved my time at the Brumbies and I think they had to stay in the competition," Coleman told Fairfax Media.

"But the Force are on the same level and if I had to compare the Brumbies and Force, I couldn't split them.

"It's pretty disgraceful to be honest with the way this has been handled, people with families have been forced to put their lives on hold while they wait.

"I'm not sure what the future holds, but I know moving to Perth has reignited my love of rugby and I will always thank the Force for that."

The Force issued 10,000 shares to sell at $1000 each, with Coleman joining the 4670 who have bought into the club to raise capital.

But Coleman said the players had been left in the dark as a bitter battle threatens to erupt in court when the ARU decides which team will be cut.

Coleman has a contract until the end of 2018 and if the Force is cut, the last year of his deal will be honoured at one of the four remaining clubs.

The 26-year-old admitted his preference would be a return to the Brumbies but said it was too early to start thinking about anything beyond the ARU's decision.

However, his fight to keep the Force alive has been slightly tainted by the knowledge if they survive, one of his best friends faces being axed from the competition.

Coleman and Colby Faingaa played junior rugby together in Queanbeyan, went to school at St Edmund's College and burst into the Brumbies squad.

"Colby has a young kid on the way and moving his family around right now wouldn't be ideal," Coleman said.

"It would be really sad to see that happen. But there are also a bunch of players in Perth that I'm close with who have young families.

"Colby and I have talked a bit about it but there's not much we can say because we don't know enough about it. That's the saddest thing because as players, we've been left out.

"It would just be great for everyone if they could make a decision so that we could get on with our lives and make some plans."

Coleman has immersed himself in his move to Perth after growing up in the capital and playing 80 games from the Brumbies from 2010-16.

He has battled early-season injuries, but wants to bounce back into the team to help them prove doubters wrong by winning their home games.

"The longer this drags on, the harder it is for the players," Coleman said.

"I hope it improves because rugby isn't in a good place right now, and it's the players who have been left in the lurch that need to be looked after.

"We're not out of the competition yet ... the players have bought shares because we believe in the Force."

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