he Western Force can confirm that homegrown prop Kieran Longbottom has announced his retirement.
Making his debut in 2008 against the Chiefs in front of his friends and family in Perth, the Rockingham product finishes his career as a fully-fledged club legend with 75 Force caps to his name.
Longbottom, affectionately known as ‘K-Bomb’ or ‘Tugboat’, was the first born-and-raised West Australian to make the journey through local club rugby, to the Force academy and ultimately the Western Force’s Super Rugby squad with the assistance of the Future Force Foundation.
Having spent four seasons between 2014-2017 in the English Premiership with Sale Sharks and Saracens before returning home to his boyhood club in 2018, Longbottom has played a significant role in the club’s history through multiple eras.
Longbottom said he is proud of the way the club has progressed over the years and his role in its development.
“The fact I’ve been able to represent WA for so long, being with the club for 11 years and always putting my best foot forward is something I take real pride in,” Longbottom explained.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have this goal to aim towards. We dreamed of playing for the Wallabies, but there weren’t the steps to achieve that in WA at the time, so when the Force began it was a huge moment for us and I wanted to be a part of it.
“The Force became a pathway and to have been here for as long as I have means the world to me. I have so many great memories and I’ve met so many great people during my time here.
“I’ve been playing with guys who grew up watching me play for the Force in recent years, which has been great, and I feel I’m leaving the club in a better place than when I first joined.”
Longbottom’s loyalty for the blue jersey has been greatly appreciated by the fans and he was full of praise for their support.
“I want to thank the Sea of Blue for being behind us and the passion they show,” he said.
“They are all great people who truly care about the club and players as individuals. I’ve loved seeing them in the stands every game with the energy they bring.”
Force head of rugby Matt Hodgson, who played many years alongside the prop, praised his contributions to the club.
“Kieran has been a vital part of the Force history for over a decade and has set an example every time he stepped onto the field,” Hodgson stated.
“He’s a homegrown player that cares deeply for his state and that was showcased by the way he approached the game with outstanding commitment and professionalism. He leaves a lasting legacy at the Force and we’ll certainly miss him around the club.”
Longbottom will be moving on with his next chapter and concentrating on running his new business, Total Recovery, which focuses on providing recovery therapies to the general public.