Will Genia ... moving to Western Force. Photo: Getty Images
Queensland Reds star halfback Will Genia has signed with the Western Force and will move to Perth for the 2013 season.
Queensland rugby has confirmed the stunning move after smoke had been building late in the week, culminating in a tweet from former Red Tim Horan tonight that a deal was essentially complete.
Genia will now link with close friend David Pocock, the Wallaby flanker, in a move that will send shockwaves through the Reds after the Force cleaned out their ranks at the end of 2005.
It was revealed during the week that Genia's new management had demanded a figure of $400,000 per season from the Reds, not including any top-up from the ARU. That figure was always going to be a bridge too far for the Super Rugby champions, who are fighting to retain the core of their title-winning roster.
Reports yesterday also said Pocock had been actively courting Genia, who will now walk away from Ewen McKenzie's side to head to the Force. It will be a sweet retort for the Force, who had coach Richard Graham poached by the Reds earlier this month.
The loss of Genia could make it more difficult for the Reds to retain close friend with Quade Cooper, who is also off contract next season.
Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael said the QRU fought for his signature but couldn't prevent his departure.
"I believe Queensland Rugby made the best offer we could to retain Will's services in Queensland, however the opportunity presented to head west was ultimately more appealong," Carmichael said.
"We wish Will all the best next year at the Force and thank him for all he has given to the Reds and Queensland Rugby throughout the last six seasons."