Coleman aims to be dominant force

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 16:52
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Towering lock Adam Coleman is determined to make a name for himself and play a dominant enforcer role for the Western Force in the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Towering lock Adam Coleman is determined to make a name for himself and play a dominant enforcer role for the Western Force in the 2014 Super Rugby season.  

A tight forward with a first-class sporting pedigree hailing from one of Australian rugby’s relative backwaters, Hobart-born Coleman has aspired to play elite rugby since taking up the sport at the age of 13.

And currently standing at 2.04m and 122kg, it would take a brave person to suggest he wouldn’t make it.

The well-travelled lock joins Phoenix Battye (2.04m) amongst the tallest players in the Super Rugby competition and are the tallest players ever in a Western Force squad.

The pair are two of four Force players that break the two-metre mark in 2014 – along with Hugh McMeniman (2.01m) and new recruit, Wilhelm Steenkamp (2m).

Having grown up playing AFL and soccer in Tasmania, Coleman’s first meeting with first cousin – hulking former Wallaby prop Rodney ‘Rodzilla’ Blake – set his course for a rugby path.

However, given Coleman’s family tree, many would suggest the route was inevitable with his father, Pau'u Afeaki and first cousin Inoke Afeaki, both captaining Tonga; cousin Stanley Afeaki plying his trade for the Tongan Sevens side; and cousins Ben and Leo Afeaki have represented the Chiefs and All Blacks, and Brumbies and Bayonne respectively.

And while he’s been provided with some big shoes to fill, his whopping size 16 feet put him in a great position to do exactly that.

“Dad played for Tonga and my cousin – Rodney Blake – played for the Wallabies so I guess rugby’s always been in my blood,” Coleman said.

“I grew up playing other sports before Mum finally let me play rugby when I was 13.

“It was the year after I’d met Rodney for the first time and he’d just signed for the Reds, so I was pretty excited about being able to play myself.”

Representative rugby didn’t take long with Coleman progressing through the Tasmanian Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 teams before earning a place in the Combined States schoolboys side.

Keen to pursue his rugby dream, Coleman crossed Bass Strait on completing school and joined the Brumbies Academy before spending two years in the Australian Rugby Union’s Sydney-based National Academy.

By that stage, Coleman – who’d grown up a marginally taller-than-average schoolboy – had undergone a significant growth spurt and tipped the scales at 110kg, before adding an additional 10kg as part of the ACT and Australian Rugby Union programs.

During the 2013 Super Rugby pre-season, he joined the Western Force’s Wider Training Group before coincidentally making his Super Rugby debut at nib Stadium for the Waratahs against the Force last season.

Now signed with the Western Australian team and settled in Perth with housemate and Force teammate Robbie Abel, Coleman said he’s keen to push for another taste of Super Rugby in 2014.

“What I want to bring this year is a strong attitude and an understanding that I’ll always do my best and put my best foot forward for the team,” he said. “I want to be a dominant lock any time I take the field.

“I’ve always aspired to play Super Rugby ever since I left Hobart at 18. It’s been a long journey that’s brought me here, but I absolutely love Perth and can’t wait to earn my opportunity with the Force.”

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