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Thread: Richard Graham Appointed Western Force Head Coach from 2012

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Richard Graham Appointed Western Force Head Coach from 2012

    The Emirates Western Force will continue to build on the strong foundations established in Perth with the appointment of Richard Graham as Head Coach from 2012.

    Graham, who joined the Emirates Western Force this year as Backs Coach following seven successful years coaching in England, will succeed incumbent Head Coach John Mitchell following the completion of his contract at the end of the 2011 season.

    The 37 year old was selected from a high calibre group of applicants. His knowledge of the squad, plans for the future and top class coaching pedigree convinced the RugbyWA selection panel that he was the right man for the job.

    “Richard is an exceptional leader and rugby tactician who has a proven ability to nurture and create an environment where players can excel,” RugbyWA CEO Vern Reid said.

    “He has already made a significant impact since arriving at the club and in tandem with John Mitchell will continue to build our young and exciting list next season before taking over in 2012.

    “The position of Head Coach at the Emirates Western Force was highly sought after. We had a long list of qualified candidates however in Richard we felt we had someone who embodied the Force culture and is committed to continuing the development of rugby in Western Australia and ultimately our aim to become Super rugby champions.

    “We have the utmost confidence that the timing of Richard’s appointment will enable a seamless transition not often afforded to professional sporting organisations and one which will prove to be a significant benefit in our planning going forward,” Mr Reid said.

    Graham has served his coaching apprenticeship for the best part of a decade following a playing career in which he captained the Australian Sevens, represented Australia A and also competed at two Commonwealth Games.

    His professional coaching experience began in England where he was Backs and Defence Coach at Bath before heading to Saracens as Coaching Co-ordinator and was appointed to the Head Coach role in 2009.

    Graham returned to Australia late last year to work with Robbie Deans in the Wallabies programme and joined the Force as Backs coach for their most recent campaign.

    An astute reader of the game and excellent man manager, Graham will continuing his coaching development under Mitchell in 2011 before taking on the top job.

    “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity and feel as though it is the right time to be making the next step in my progression as a professional coach,” Graham said.

    “I’ve been fortunate to have worked under five international coaches and certainly think I have done a worthy apprenticeship. I look forward to having another season working under John and when my turn comes in 12 months time I certainly will be ready for it.”

    Graham will become only the second Head Coach in Emirates Western Force history and RugbyWA Chairman Geoff Stooke OAM said he had full confidence that the club would continue to prosper under his coaching leadership.

    “We’re delighted that Richard has accepted the position, we believe he is the right man to take the organisation and the team in the next step of our development,” Mr Stooke said.

    “John Mitchell established a fantastic rugby programme from the ground up. The key objectives of the team were to grow rugby in WA and grow Wallabies and we have certainly achieved both of those things in spades and John can feel proud of the work he has done here.

    “John’s job isn’t finished and he has another year to go and we’re hopeful it’ll be a big year.

    “We’re very fortunate to have Richard already working with John so the transition will be smooth. Richard has developed a great rapport with the current coach, current support staff, our player group and all of those in and around RugbyWA and the Emirates Western Force and we look forward to him continuing to make this a world class rugby destination.”

    Mitchell, the inaugural Emirates Western Force Head Coach, announced earlier this year that he would not be pursuing an extension to his contract following the 2011 season and has been a strong advocate of Graham to be given the opportunity following his departure.

    “John has been wonderfully supportive during 2010 and given me increased responsibility as the season continued and I can only see that relationship developing further next season,” Graham said.

    “I think John is a wonderful resource for me and the club and he is happy to share his experiences attained at the All Blacks, England and also his time setting up the Emirates Western Force football programme.

    “The nature of the beast is generally that one coach finishes and another steps in however I feel that I will be in a far better position having been with the organisation for the two years previous.

    “I know the people in the organisation, the areas that we’ve done well and the areas where I think we can continue to improve,” Graham said.

    The Head Coaching role appealed on a number of fronts including the potential of the squad assembled at the Force and the passionate following for rugby in WA, while off-field the lifestyle opportunities for his young family we’re too good to pass up.

    “We have a wonderful group from which to go forward. We’re a young group that seek knowledge and have a willingness to learn and I think we have a great base in our squad to produce a consistent winning side,” Graham said.

    “You can see the work that has already been done and the benefits of that. I see my job to come in and build on that, you only need to look at the support we get at home games to see that passion for rugby. The ‘sea of blue’ is without doubt the most passionate and recognisable group of supporters in Australian rugby.

    “It’s fair to say that the entire family has settled very well in the great Perth lifestyle and we’re happy that we’ll be here for the long haul.”

    Graham will continue with the Australian Rugby Union in his current position as Skills Coach until the end of the 2011 World Cup

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Champion Contributor WF1964's Avatar
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    I think this is good news.
    How long is the contract for?

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    Great News.. well respected by the players and should lift the guys after a tough year.

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    How obvious was that call?

    I'm pretty sure I've been spruiking this one since the day he signed on as Assistant

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    C'mon the

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    Shall we start making predictions for a potential forwards coach?

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    Champion Contributor todd4's Avatar
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    I just posted a rant on this subject on the other thread. Shouldn't we have just one thread?

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    Veteran pieter blackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Shall we start making predictions for a potential forwards coach?
    I really hope that Matt Tink stay as forwards coach He made a huge difference and is liked by all

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    fantastic news!!

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    Champion GAFFA's Avatar
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    How Worng we were

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    “Everyone knows whether it’s rugby, politics or whatever, front-rowers should rule the world, so to have a hooker at the helm makes sense,” Nathan Charles Western Force & Wallabies Hooker.

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    Champion Contributor todd4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GAFFA View Post
    How Worng we were

    I did post a rant about the lack of selection process, but I wouldn't know where to find it.

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    Champion GAFFA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by todd4 View Post
    I did post a rant about the lack of selection process, but I wouldn't know where to find it.
    Here you go.

    todd4
    02-07-10, 16:54

    Select-a-coach process - what a sham.

    I am not writing this to critisize Richard Graham because the truth is I have never met the guy and have no real knowledge of his coaching abilities. He may turn out to be a great Head Coach or a dud Head Coach.

    My gripe is about the whole ridiculous scenario which culminated in the ending up making their choice for HC (head coach) TWELVE MONTHS earlier than they should, resulting in them effectively only having a choice of ONE candidate.

    This debacle started earlier this year when made his public announcement that he was leaving at the end of next season.

    There are people who will say that his public announcement just shows what a fine fellow he is by telling everyone in advance what his intentions are.
    Can anyone tell me what benefit it was to the by this public statement? This was something that he should have discussed behind closed doors with the Board of RugbyWA. The only person to benefit by this public statement was JM, whereas he was able to advertise himself in a very public way to the rugby world in general that he was going to become available as a coach with the underlying inference that he might be available as early as next year if the price was right.

    It is my opinion that JM did the club a dis-service and was in fact self-serving in going public.

    What was the result of his public announcement? It caused uncertainty in the minds of the public, the media, the Board of RugbyWA and even the players(?).

    Over the following weeks reports came in that he had been having meetings with officials from the Chiefs, Sharks et al and the thoughts were that he would be looking for a release from the last year of his contract to take up an offer elsewhere.
    Media reports at the time indicate that Vern Reid and the Board thought this was a real possibility and so in an effort to appear pro-active they announced that they were calling for applications for a new HC, presumedly in readiness to take over the reins in 2011.

    As time dragged on it started to become apparent that JM was in fact hanging around until the end of next year.

    At this stage Vern Reid needed to have the balls to make a decision that the selection of a new HC would be postponed for another twelve months.

    By not postponing the selection what were the options?

    1. Select an elite level coach who becomes available next year and ask him to sit on his own thumb and rotate for a year until JM hands over the hat.

    2. Select an elite level coach and have him work alongside JM for the next year in readiness to take over. Assuming these two alfa-male personalities would get along like best mates what would be the financial cost? I don't know what the HC gets paid in a year but lets conservatively call it a motza. Paying 2 x motzas plus the salaries of the assistant coaches would certainly damage the bottom line.

    3. Select an elite level coach and have him start next year. Pay out JM's contract and say thanks very much - now its time to move on. Financially this would have the same result as option 2.

    4. Select an elite level coach that is not free until 2012 would be ideal. Problem is that when the appointment is announced that coach will probably cop the ire of his current club and their fans and have a big job convincing them that he really does have their best interests at heart (for the next 12 months anyway.) No self-respecting coach would want to find themselves in that position. To take on a new job and start the next year would always be preferrable.

    BUT WAIT we have a fifth option, lets do what tells us and promote the assistant coach. It ticks nearly all the boxes;

    This is the cheapest option, he is here already and therefore we were going to be paying him next year anyway so it wont cost us any extra.
    Their wont be any personality clashes with JM because he knows who is the boss and will happily wait 12 months for JM to go.

    The only box it does not tick is giving the team and the fans a genuine choice of the best candidate for the job.
    If the selction process was deferred for twelve months then the would be able to consider all those coaches whose contracts will exipre at the end of 2011 after the Rugby World Cup.

    Vern Reid and the Board painted themselves into a corner and took the easy option out.

    Its times like this that we need people in charge who have a backbone and are prepared to make decisions that are in the best interests of the Western Force.

    I have lost a lot of respect for Vern Reid and the Board of RugbyWA. I think this whole sheemozzle has put a big question mark over their competency.

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    “Everyone knows whether it’s rugby, politics or whatever, front-rowers should rule the world, so to have a hooker at the helm makes sense,” Nathan Charles Western Force & Wallabies Hooker.

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    The good news is he is now head coach of the Reds. Sorry TOCC

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    May I borrow that crystal ball of yours Todd?

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