Heading north ... Richard Graham will join the Queensland Reds

Heading east ... Richard Graham will join the Queensland Reds Photo: Anthony Johnson

Western Force coach Richard Graham will leave Perth at the end of the Super Rugby season to join the Queensland Reds.

Current title-winning coach Ewen McKenzie will become director of coaching at Queensland and former Reds fullback Graham will take a senior coaching role.

Graham has announced his departure at a Force press conference in Perth today.

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill last week revealed that McKenzie was a strong candidate to succeed current Wallabies coach Robbie Deans when his contract with the ARU expires at the end of next year.

Graham said in a press release it was an extremely tough decision to make and one that hadn’t come without considerable thought but in the end he felt it was best for his coaching career.

 “The Emirates Western Force and RugbyWA gave me an opportunity to undertake my first full-time head coaching position and I’ll forever be grateful for that.  Perth is a wonderful place to live and play rugby and I will have no hesitation in telling that to anyone who asks me,” Graham said in the statement.

“Purely from a personal standing as a career coach I felt it was something I needed to do but I wish to make it clear that it is in no way a reflection on RugbyWA or the Emirates Western Force.

“I intend to do everything I can to make the back half of our season a successful one and there will be no distractions in my desire to achieve finals for the club in 2012.”

The Western Force have a bye this weekend.

AAP