Graham leaving the Force for its rivals the Reds

The Western Force will see out the remainder of the 2012 season under a new coaching structure after the RugbyWA Board today informed Richard Graham he would be stood down as Head Coach with immediate effect.

Following the announcement earlier this week that Graham had triggered a clause in his contract allowing him to move to rival franchise Queensland next year, the RugbyWA Board sought and received feedback from a range of stakeholders including the playing group.
Graham announced earlier this week he would be heading to Queensland next season on a three-year deal to replace Ewen McKenzie, who will become coaching director of the Super Rugby champions.

For the club’s remaining eight matches this season a coaching panel of Nick Stiles, Phil Blake and Andrew Scotney will manage the load, with additional resources and input being provided by Captain David Pocock and club legend Nathan Sharpe.

“The Board has determined that a change to the coaching structure is for the betterment of the Emirates Western Force with still half a season to play in 2012,” Chief Executive Officer Vern Reid said.  “The decision has come about after a carefully considered and consultative approach.

“The Board put in place a clear process to determine the appropriate course of action and met regularly to receive feedback from key stakeholders.  The result is that a firm and informed decision in the best interests of the Emirates Western Force has been taken.

“Richard has given a lot of himself to the Emirates Western Force and rugby in WA and for that we are grateful.  The ruling by the Board was an eventuality he was prepared for off the back of his announcement earlier in the week.  We acknowledge his effort and we will part amicably,” Reid said.

The search for a new Head Coach is progressing well with more than 30 applicants already putting forward their interest in the position.  A number of other highly credentialed and experienced coaches have been invited to apply.

Referencing checking of the shortlisted candidates will begin early next week.