Western Force lock Nathan Sharpe said the franchise has moved on from the Willie Ripia controversy and looking forward to a more successful season.
The veteran Wallaby, who hasn't ruled out the prospect of extending his Super Rugby career into 2013, returned to the training track this week and said he is determined for the side to better than the last couple of years that saw finish outside the top 10.
When quizzed on Ripia's recent departure - who returned to New Zealand after being caught stealing from his teammates - Sharpe said it was a disappointing event, but the team had resolved amongst themselves what had happened and were simply now concentrating on the season ahead.
"I think first and foremost the most important thing is that Willie gets the help that he needs to get through this situation," Sharpe said.
"It's a shame that it came to pass the way it did but the group has moved on.
"The trust in the group is the most important thing and certainly that is something that needs to be paramount in this team and that's what we're working towards."
Already the most capped player in Super Rugby history across all three SANZAR nations with 147 matches under his belt, Sharpe is coming off a stellar 2011 season in which he again set the bar for second row forwards and was awarded the RUPA's Medal for Excellence for a third time in his illustrious career.
He also surpassed 100 caps with the Wallabies with important contributions in the World Cup and year-end tour.
Sharpe believed the team was looking great at this time of year and were focussed on putting together a finals worthy performance in 2012.
"That's where we want to get to," Sharpe said of the squad's motivation this year.
"I think some of the guys that we've brought in this year mean we have an incredibly talented group and getting to know them and getting to know each other's playing abilities quickly is the focus initially.
"The start of the season in Super Rugby is a critical time for any team and certainly for us we've been guilty of slow starts to the year so we want to make a fast start to the season and go from there."
Following a well-earned break Sharpe said he is refreshed and ready to tackle another pre-season head-on, along with fellow Wallabies David Pocock and Ben McCalman who also started back with the squad this week.
While Sharpe has been keeping himself fit he said the competition in the team environment was key to getting the best out of every player.
"All the guys that came back into the group on Monday are in good shape and we're really looking forward to getting stuck into the year together as a side after a staggered start with different guys returning at different times," said Sharpe.
"You do your own training on your break but it's nice to come back to training and start running around the field again with the team. You're starting to test yourself again and feel the pressure of competition from the others fighting for the same position.
"While you might have a couple of weeks with your feet up as you recover from a long year but after that you've got to maintain your fitness or you'll come back behind the eight ball."
Sharpe, who turns 34 in February, said age has not wearied him.
"Physically I feel really good," Sharpe said, adding: "For me, I've been lucky with injuries thus far.
"The body feels good and I'm still enjoying playing and I just have to assess all the factors that come into my life.
"I'll make a call probably very early on in the season and that's something I'll come to pass in the next couple of months."
Sharpe and the rest of the Western Force squad will head to Margaret River for a three day training camp this Thursday with focus on gelling as a group and taking rugby to their fans in the South West region.
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